Arsenal: Wenger wanted Martial but Monaco owed Manchester United over Falcao
Arsenal manger Arsène Wenger says he thought about signing Anthony Martial, the French footballer now with Manchester United. Wenger thought about buying Martial when he was at Lyons. But the French club told him Martial wasn’t for sale.
Martial then joined Monaco for 3 million.
Monaco told Wenger Martial was “not sellable”. So off he went to Manchester United for £36 million.
The simple story, of course, is that Arsenal quite liked Martial but were never going to pay a fortune to sign him. Chances are other clubs also like other top players but just can’t find the odd £36m to actually sign them.
The media continue to press Wenger on Martial. He replies to their probing:
“I was surprised they sold him. 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. 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. That was a surprise too, that Lyons sold him on the last day of the transfer market for €5 million [£3 million].”
Should Arsenal have bought the player? Wenger adds:
“The future will tell us if he is overpriced. Manchester United spend the money they have. It is not artificial. They are entitled to do it.”
Monaco’s executive vice-president, Vadim Vasilyev, tells Marca that one club outbid United:
“There was another club that offered even more than United. I will not say how much, but the fixed price, without variables, was even better, and they also offered us [the chance] to have him for a further year in Monaco. But the boy wanted to go to Manchester. It was his dream and we let him go with the bonus of [£36 million]. Had it not been for so much money, he would have stayed.”
A year earlier, United took Monaco’s Radamel Falcao on loan. The Colombian, now with Chelsea, joined for a £6m fee plus wages of – get this- £265,000-a-week. United also took the option to sign Falcao on a longer contract for £43.5m at the end of the loan spell. He proved to be not all that good. United had been sold a dud.
You have to wonder how much that deal impacted on Monaco and United’s decision to do business over Martial? Monaco might have beee able to get more for Martial from another club, but having seen United take the overpriced Falcao off their books, maybe they thought it right to return the favour?