Euro 2008 is almost upon us and the game's big hitters have arrived in town.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and former Bayern Munich boss Ottmar Hitzfeld, who will take charge of Switzerland after the tournament, attended a press conference in ambassadorial roles on Friday evening.

And I'm sure Gunners fans will be very interested to hear what their manager had to say.

I asked Wenger whether any players at Euro 2008 might be playing their club football at the Emirates next season. The Frenchman, speaking in his capacity as a Castrol Index ambassador, said: "I'm here with my cheque book


"If I see something I like....I don't rule anything out."

After three trophyless seasons, Wenger has obviously decided it is time to spend, but who will he buy?

And, perhaps of greater relevance, which players could he realistically hope to sign?

I also asked Wenger if he'd be a happy man if, as has been widely speculated, Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester United, one of Arsenal's major rivals, for Real Madrid during the summer, but the 'Professor' was far too wily to be drawn on that subject.

After pointing out that the Portuguese star is under contract, he indicated that players should be more loyal.

As for possible stars at Euro 2008, the Gunners boss tipped Germany's Mario Gomez, France's Karim Benzema and Croatia's Luka Modric to shine.

Modric, of course, is now a Tottenham player.

But, interesting as Wenger was, there is no doubt that the king of the Euro circus is French football legend Michel Platini, now president of Uefa.

At an earlier press conference on Friday, he declared that "the party is about to start".

And if Platini's timekeeping is anything to go by, it certainly is.

The normal form as far as press conferences go in England is that a time is announced, the media gather, and at some point in the near to distant future the key personalities deign to turn up.

Not so with Monsieur Platini, who was in his seat 20 minutes before the scheduled start.

He dodged questions with the sort of elegance he used to dodge tackles on the field of play, pretending not to notice when one Chinese journalist addressed him as Mr Blatter and affecting a very expressive combination of a smirk and slight movement of the head when asked which team he thought would win.

You cannot fault his diligence, though, making notes as he was asked a question and then providing thorough and lengthy answers, even if he was not as direct as he could have been with his responses.

Michele Platini

I asked him whether he thought Euro 2008 would be a more adventurous tournament and less tactical than past ones.

"We should let players play," he answered, "and not keep them on a tight rein."

But if the president's overall demeanour was of a man content with his lot, then a look at the Uefa coffers perhaps explains why.

It was announced at the press conference that Uefa predicts that Euro 2008 will generate a total turnover of £680.9m, with a profit of £187.2m. Nice work if you can get it.

Those who feel the role of the supporter is of increasingly peripheral importance might wish to consider that only 7% of the revenue is generated by ticket sales.

One man in Basel told me that "Uefa is about business and not football". And athough Platini stressed again and again that the tournament is about the fans, plenty of people I have spoken to express their dismay at the amount of tickets that have either been kept within the Uefa family or designated for corporate use.

Tickets are like gold dust, to the extent that touts are even doing a brisk trade selling ones for training sessions nevermind actual matches.

I doubt whether Platini, Wenger or Hitzfeld are struggling for tickets, though whether the Arsenal boss has the sort of riches he needs to boost his squad remains to be seen.

Paul Fletcher is a broadcast journalist at BBC Sport Interactive. Please check our FAQs if you have any questions.


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