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Jan 22, 2013

Wenger: We were never in for Zaha

Arsene Wenger has denied that Arsenal are interested in Crystal Palace youngster Wilfried Zaha, as Manchester United look set to complete a deal for him.

Zaha, 20, has attracted the attention of the top clubs in England and is viewed as one of the most talented midfielders of his generation. However, while reports suggest that United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has opted out of a four-day training trip to Doha in order to tie up a deal worth £12 million, Wenger has claimed that he was never interested.

"If Zaha goes to Man Utd, good luck to him," Wenger told a press conference on Tuesday. "We were never in for him. Never."

Despite Wenger's words, ESPN understands that Arsenal did place a bid for Zaha last week but Palace's demands and the player's seeming desire to continue the next phase of his career at Old Trafford has ended their interest.

Arsenal are still looking to bring in two players in January, with French trio Yann M'Vila, Yoann Gourcuff and Toulouse midfielder Etienne Capoue all linked in recent weeks.

Wenger, though, refused to admit who he has been tracking, saying: "I will not give you any names. We are working very hard. It's not the number of players that counts, but the quality."

When pushed over a report that Gourcuff was offered to him he added: " I don't want to talk about that as it puts Lyon in a bad position and the player as well. You have to respect that the player has a contract somewhere and is playing. As long as the transfer is not on for anybody then it is better not to talk about it."

The French boss did, however, talk up West Ham midfielder and possible target Mohamed Diame - who has a reported release clause of £3.5m in his contract - as he revealed: "He has a great presence in the games, I have seen him have a big impact."

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