Arsene Wenger has given potentially his biggest hint that he was interested in Manchester United’s new signing Anthony Martial by implying that Monaco lied to him about the striker’s availability.

Speaking ahead of our Premier League match against United on Sunday, Wenger said that Monaco had gone back on their word and that he had been told Martial was not available. This insinuates pretty heavily that he did have more than a fleeting interest in the striker, although that much is clear by now.

“I was surprised they sold him,” Wenger said.

“The amount of money was massive. I believe that you could think that, if you are Monaco, you could have sold him as well next season.

“So I thought they would not sell him this year because they sold many other players.”

The boss continued, “I thought they would maintain their word. He was not sellable. He was not on the list. He was one of the players Monaco did not want to sell, so we never made an approach for him.

“Only an acceptable amount of money after could do it. We always liked him, even when he was in Lyons.”

Anthony Martial of Manchester United applauds the crowd
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 30: Anthony Martial of Manchester United applauds the crowd after victory in the UEFA Champions League Group B match between Manchester United FC and VfL Wolfsburg at Old Trafford on September 30, 2015 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Wenger’s history with Monaco probably makes the apparently deception smart a little more, especially as it would have been known that we wanted a striker given Danny Welbeck’s injury. However, we’ll never truly know their motives behind keeping him from us.

The 19-year-old ended up signing for United for £36m in the summer, a sum Wenger would never have paid. However, I think Wenger would be lying if he didn’t watch some of Martial’s goals and wonder ‘what if?’