Monday 18 February 2019

'Have they been tapped up? Of course' - Arsene Wenger opens up on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's Liverpool move

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain set to play his first game for Liverpool against Manchester City this weekend
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain set to play his first game for Liverpool against Manchester City this weekend
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has suggested that players are 'tapped up' before they make big-money transfers, as he offered up some interesting views on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's move to Liverpool.

Liverpool were forced to issue a public apology to Southampton after they were caught staging unsolicited transfer talks with defender Virgil van Dijk this summer, with the end result of that messy affair seeing the Dutch centre-back denied a move to Anfield.

Now Wenger has hinted Oxlade-Chamberlain was also aware of the financial offer available at Liverpool before he was officially given the green light to talk to the Anfield move over a £35m move that was confirmed on transfer deadline day.

Wenger has welcomed the decision by Premier League clubs to close the transfer window before the season starts next season, as he suggests the uncertainty can affect the focus of players who are the subject of transfer specualtion.

"Even in the games, you sit there before the games and even in players’ minds they have no clarity," said Wenger.

"Are they in? Are they out? Are they half in? Are they half out? Are they tapped up in the afternoon of the game by people who want to get them out?

"You are not naive enough to think that will not happen. Have they been tapped up? Of course. But on the day of a game? I don’t think so, I hope not. But it’s inevitable."

Wenger also defended his decision to play Oxlade-Chamberlain against Liverpool last month, even though he was aware that he could be joining the Reds a few days later.

"If I am a football player, I can perform even if Liverpool is in my head," he added, in a game Arsenal lost 4-0.

"I don’t think that should stop you to perform. Did it? I think he (Oxlade-Chamberlain) was not worse than any other player on the football pitch. I don’t want to go into individual cases, I just think in general.

“It’s not the way to work and it’s uncomfortable. Every single manager would agree that it’s time to kick that out before the season starts and not continue to have players in the dressing room who are half out and half in."

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