Arsenal were tracking Anthony Martial, admits Arsene Wenger

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Arsene Wenger says Arsenal were aware of Anthony Martial's talent long before Manchester United agreed to pay £36million to sign him.

The Red Devils dropped jaws all over the place after making the relatively unknown forward the most expensive teenager in football history.

While Premier League fans eagerly wait to see why he was valued so highly, Wenger claims that he and his band of Arsenal scouts are already well versed on Martial's potential.


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Having originally spotted him in Lyon's academy years ago, some Arsenal fans would question why their manager did not do something he had done many times before and pluck the then-unknown teenager for a nominal fee.

It is something he did twice this summer, signing Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Yassin Fortune from Lens with the former going on to impress during the Emirates Cup.

Why Arsenal didn't move

But Wenger, who was the only manager in Europe's top five leagues not to sign a senior outfield player this summer, believes his well-stocked squad did not have a place for Martial.

“We [have] known him since he was a kid,” he told reporters.

“But he’s more of a winger-type.

“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 Sanchez and Joel Campbell who can play in the position.”

Unable to compete

Regardless of whether Arsenal wanted Martial or not, there is few fans inside the Emirates who would have wanted to see the Gunners fork out as much as Manchester United did to sign him.

The deal, which could eventually rise to almost £59m, can only be seen as good business if Martial becomes a world-class star. It also highlights the lack of quality available in the transfer market this summer, explaining why Wenger decided against spending big.

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Arsene Wenger
Premier League
Manchester United

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