Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has spoken publicly for the first time about his pursuit of Luis Suarez and admitted he is "not close" to signing the Liverpool striker.
Wenger confirmed the depth of his desire to lure Suarez away from Anfield after he lodged an audacious £40,000,0001 bid for the Uruguay striker earlier this week, but Liverpool were quick to reject the offer and insist they would need a bid in excess of £50 million before they would consider selling their prized asset.
The Frenchman made no suggestion that he would increase his current offer by the amount Liverpool are insisting upon, and conceded he is not expecting to announce a new arrival at Arsenal any time soon.
"We are not close to signing Suarez or anybody else so there’s no reason why I should talk about it," he told reporters in Saitama, Japan.
"There is nothing to say (on the Suarez deal). I have been away now for two or the weeks and it’s hard to see how things are advanced because everyone is on tour at the moment and it’s very difficult to get in touch with people.
"We are ready to do quick deals but all the transfers do not depend only on us. We are prepared to wait. It looks unlikely before the Emirates Cup (next weekend), but we still have a strong squad."
Many Arsenal supporters have become frustrated by the club’s apparently ambitious and so far unsuccessful pursuits of Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain and now Suarez, but Wenger has stressed he would not be concerned if he entered the new season without a big name signing.
"With or without additions we can be title challengers next season,” he proclaimed. “We try to do the job and we will try to do it well, but nothing has been concluded with anybody.
"What we want is not a name but a good player. The name is less important. What is more important is the quality of the player. At the moment I must tell you we are not close to signing anybody.
"Of course we want to do as many top players as we can, but we also have to focus on the players we have and develop them."
The Guardian newspaper is reporting that Arsenal will submit an improved offer for Suarez in the coming days, while reports in Spain suggest Real Madrid are not planning to make a move for the Liverpool hit-man who has expressed a desire to move to the Spanish capital.