Thursday 20 July 2017

Benayoun insists he was no impulse buy

Glenn Moore

yossi benayoun has revealed Arsene Wenger's last-minute plunge into the transfer market did contain more forethought than the trolley dash it has been derided as.

The Israeli's loan from Chelsea to Arsenal was one of deadline-day's more surprising moves, but, said Benayoun, it had been planned for more than a week. "The media thought it was dramatic, but I knew it would go to the last day," he said. "There was an agreement between me and Chelsea that we would wait until then because they wanted to bring in another player -- either (Raul) Meireles or (Luka) Modric. I first heard about the interest from Arsenal eight days before the end of the window and when I knew they wanted me it was an easy choice.

"I had a few good options from clubs in England and outside but as soon as I heard about Arsenal my mind was made up. Deadline day was calm for me. I flew in from Israel in the morning, from the national team, and knew it was going to happen."

It was, nevertheless, very late in the evening when Chelsea finally signed Meireles from Liverpool having given up on Modric, meaning Benayoun could complete his move. That his was a loan meant it went through quickly because there was less paperwork.

Benayoun made his first start for Arsenal on Tuesday night, in their opening Champions' League match at Borussia Dortmund. Arsenal drew 1-1. "I think it was a good start for us in the competition," said Benayoun. "We were unlucky because they scored a lovely goal at the end, but we need to be happy with the point.

"We had a good performance and, hopefully, we can take confidence from this and build for Blackburn (on Saturday). I want to improve my understanding with the team, but I think there's plenty of quality, so we'll quickly understand each other."

That thought was echoed by Mikel Arteta, who was making his second appearance since moving from Everton. "It will take time because most of the guys came at the last minute, but when you've got the quality it makes everything easier," he said. (© Independent News Service)

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