1 August 2014 18:50
Arsene Wenger has refuted transfer talk over Mario Balotelli, as well as Steven Gerrard’s claim that Luis Suarez was “too good” for Arsenal.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of his side’s Emirates Cup opener against Benfica this weekend, the Frenchman used the opportunity to set the record straight following a week of newspaper headlines surrounding the club.
Balotelli has dominated many of them, with speculation continuing to link the Italy striker with a move to the Emirates Stadium.
When questioned on the 23-year-old, however, Wenger insisted that reports of a deal were way off the mark.
“For weeks we were buying Balotelli from one minute to the other and it was all wrong,” he said. “We were never in for him.
“We do not master the noises that come out.”
That was not the only issue addressed by the Frenchman on Friday, as he also used the opportunity to respond to comments made by Gerrard over the failed bid for Suarez 12 months ago.
Arsenal conducted a public pursuit of the Uruguayan ahead of the 2013-14 campaign, reportedly offering a pound over £40million in a bid to activate the player’s release clause at Liverpool.
That move was ultimately unsuccessful, and Gerrard claimed in an interview this week that he had advised the now Barcelona forward: “Don’t go to Arsenal”, adding “With all due respect to them, I said to him that he was too good for Arsenal.”
But Wenger said that no player should consider themselves above playing for the Londoners, although he was not surprised by Gerrard’s advice.
“You’re never too good for Arsenal and Steven Gerrard knows that,” he added.
“But I can understand completely that he asked him [Suarez] to stay because he wanted him to play with him and have a chance to win the Premier League.
“But it didn’t happen, and anyway, Suarez left.”