Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has accused Monaco of breaking their word over Anthony Martial and claimed he tried to sign the striker in 2014.
The Arsenal boss claims he is a long-time admirer of Manchester United’s deadline-day recruit and in fact tried to lure the 19-year-old to The Emirates last year.
The former Lyon man joined Wenger’s old club Monaco in June 2013 for a fee of around five million euros – a move that also shocked Wenger.
“We always liked him, already when he was in Lyon,” Wenger told the Daily Star. “That was also a surprise, that Lyon sold him for five million euros.”
Wenger believed Monaco would keep hold of Martial this summer, which is why Arsenal did not pursue him in the summer transfer window, but Manchester United knew otherwise and snapped up the forward for £36million plus add-ons.
“I thought they would not sell him this year because they had sold so many other players,” Wenger added.
“They said they would not sell him and I thought they were not in any need to sell and would maintain their word.
“The amount of money was massive but Monaco could have sold him next season instead. I was surprised they sold him. Only an exceptional amount of money would do it.”
Martial has been an instant hit at Old Trafford and asserted himself in the first team after scoring four goals in nine appearances – and already with the add-ons the transfer fee, which could total £58million, looks like being money well spent.
Manchester United almost missed out on Martial themselves after Monaco vice president Vadim Vasilyev claimed yesterday that another club outbid United.
Martial though was desperate to move to Old Trafford and the bigger offer was rejected.