Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Wenger: No player 'too good' for us

Luis Suarez, right, was targeted by Arsenal last summer
Luis Suarez, right, was targeted by Arsenal last summer

Arsene Wenger has dismissed Steven Gerrard's claims that Luis Suarez was too good to move to Arsenal last summer.

The Gunners looked to land the Liverpool forward 12 months ago with a bid of £40million plus one pound - but the move proved unsuccessful and the Uruguay international went on to start for a Liverpool side fighting for the title.

Suarez, currently banned from all football for four months after biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini during a World Cup group game, has now moved to Barcelona - with Gerrard admitting he had told the 27-year-old to stay put last year.

"Last summer when he was out in the cold and training on his own (following an earlier ban for biting) that's the conversation I had with him. I said: 'Don't go to Arsenal'," the Liverpool captain revealed.

"I would have been really sad and disappointed to see Luis go to Arsenal. With all due respect to them, I said to him that he was too good for Arsenal."

But Wenger, who instead signed Real Madrid's Mesut Ozil for a club-record fee, insists no player would deem themselves too good for his side.

"You're never too good for Arsenal and Steven Gerrard knows that," he said during his press conference ahead of this weekend's Emirates Cup.

"But I can understand completely that he asked him to stay because he wanted him (Suarez) to play with him and have a chance to win the Premier League. But it didn't happen, and anyway, Suarez left."

Wenger has been busy again this summer with the addition of Chile forward Alexis Sanchez, whose place at Barcelona has since been filled by Suarez, as well as England youth international Calum Chambers and Newcastle defender Mathieu Debuchy.

Those deals mean, for the first time in several years, that Wenger has his new recruits in well ahead of the start of the season - even if he may not yet be finished in the transfer market.

"I'm very happy because I did what I wanted, and I am still open to do more," he said.

"Let's not forget that we are at August 1 today, and the transfer window closes on the 31st. For years, it's a long time I didn't sit with you here on the first of August having done quite a lot.

"We are a bit ahead of what we usually do, because the availability on the market was bigger and earlier than before."

There may yet be players moving away from the Emirates Stadium as Wenger admitted the future of reported Manchester United target Thomas Vermaelen remains unclear, with the club captain unhappy at his lack of first-team action last season.

"At the moment Thomas Vermaelen is here," added Wenger.

"He is injured at the moment with a short-term injury. It (a move) could happen, yes it's a possibility that he goes. If he goes we have to replace him because he's an important player in our squad.

"I expect him to stay but he, of course, did not play enough games last year. For me he's a very important player but I couldn't guarantee him the games he wanted last year."

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife galleries

More

Latest Sport News

Stats Centre