(AFP) – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hit back at claims by Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard that striker Luis Suarez was “too good” to ever move to the north London outfit.
The Gunners tabled a £40,000,001 ($67.5 million, 50.4 million euros) bid for Suarez a year ago in the mistaken belief it would trigger a release clause in his contract at Anfield.
And the Uruguayan went on to score 31 goals as Liverpool narrowly missed out on the Premier League title before joining Barcelona this summer.
Gerrard claimed that he had advised Suarez, currently banned from all football for four months after biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini during a World Cup group game, against joining Arsenal last year.
“I said: ‘Don’t go to Arsenal’,” the Liverpool captain told several British newspapers on Thursday.
“With all due respect to them, I said to him that he was too good for Arsenal.”
But Wenger, who instead signed Real Madrid’s Mesut Ozil for a club-record fee, insisted on Friday no player would deem themselves too good for his side.
“You’re never too good for Arsenal and Steven Gerrard knows that,” he said during a press conference ahead of this weekend’s Emirates Cup, in which Arsenal will host Portuguese champions Benfica and Monaco.
“But I can understand completely that he asked him to stay because he wanted him (Suarez) to play with him and have a chance to win the Premier League. But it didn’t happen, and anyway, Suarez left.”
Wenger has been busy in the market this summer with the addition of Chile forward Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona, England youth international Calum Chambers from Southampton and Newcastle United right-back Mathieu Debuchy.
However, Wenger hinted that he has not finished his summer spending just yet.
“I’m very happy because I did what I wanted, and I am still open to do more,” he said.
“Let’s not forget that we are at August 1 today, and the transfer window closes on the 31st.
“We are a bit ahead of what we usually do, because the availability on the market was bigger and earlier than before.”
There may yet be players moving away from the Emirates Stadium as Wenger admitted the future of defender Thomas Vermaelen remains unclear, with the club captain unhappy at his lack of first-team action last season.
“At the moment Thomas Vermaelen is here,” added Wenger.
“It (a move) could happen, yes it’s a possibility that he goes. If he goes we have to replace him because he’s an important player in our squad.
“I expect him to stay but he, of course, did not play enough games last year. For me he’s a very important player but I couldn’t guarantee him the games he wanted last year.”