There almost certainly isn’t an up and coming French talent that Arsène Wenger doesn’t know.
The manager looked on during the end of the transfer window to see Manchester United sign 19-year-old Anthony Martial in a huge £58m deal, which sees Monaco receive £36m up front and £14.5m of the £22m in add-ons are surprisingly straightforward for them to earn.
In Thursday’s press conference the Arsenal manager admitted he has known Martial, who came through the Lyon academy before AS Monaco signed him, for a long time.
“We [have] known him since he was a kid,” Wenger admitted to the press. The forward, who won his first two caps for France over the international break, could have come in handy with Danny Welbeck injured but Wenger doesn’t see him as a lone striker.
Manchester United only have Wayne Rooney up front and will surely need Martial to play there during the season, but the Arsenal boss isn’t so sure that’s a good idea.
“But he’s more of a winger-type,” Wenger said, before explaining why signing him was never an option for the Gunners.
“He’s an exceptional talent I agree with you but I believe that he plays in positions where we have players like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alexis Sánchez and Joel Campbell.”
That’s not including Theo Walcott or mentioning the possibility of playing Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere or Santi Cazorla out wide at times.
When Welbeck returns he provides a great option up front or on either wing, but he will be missing until Christmas. Arsenal might be a bit light going forward, but Martial would have been a risky deal for a player who – right now – may not have brought anything extra to the squad.