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Sep 29, 2013

Wenger: No regrets over Higuain failure

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says he has no regrets over his failure to sign Gonzalo Higuain last summer, as he prepares to face the striker in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

Gonzalo Higuain celebrates after scoring against Dortmund.
Gonzalo Higuain celebrates after scoring against Dortmund.

• Cross: Arsenal belief grows

Rafa Benitez’s Napoli won the race to sign the Argentina international striker from Real Madrid, leaving Wenger frustrated but he turned his attention to another one of Real's stars, Mesut Ozil, instead, and he insists he is content with how things worked out.

“We were working on two or three targets and Higuain was one of them, confirmed Wenger. “It didn't come off in the end, but that doesn't take anything away from his quality. Napoli took advantage of that at the right moment.

“As we know, in the end Real Madrid sold two great players, one of them went to Napoli, one went to Arsenal so it's 1-1 on that front.”

Wenger has warned his side that they will face a team full of talent, with the man on the touchline among their most potent weapons in the opinion of the Arsenal boss.

“Rafael Benitez is a great manager and he's done well everywhere,” Wenger said. “He has a vast experience now, he's worked in Italy twice, he's worked in England, he's worked in Spain.

“All that together makes a manager more confident and more convinced of his opinions and you are not surprised how successful he has been throughout his career.

“Napoli’s counter-attacking style is what struck me as well in the Emirates Cup a few weeks ago. When they win the ball they come out very quickly with Callejon, Hamsik, Insigne and Higuain -- they all come out like bombs every time they win the ball.

“This means that the transition from our team from offence to defence will have to be very quick on Tuesday. They had a surprising result for many people because Dortmund reached the final last year in a very emphatic way of playing football.

“For Napoli to beat Dortmund certainly is something special and that will lift their confidence. We have already played Napoli at the Emirates Cup in pre-season, and we know from this match that they are a good side with quality, but we know as well, when you want to qualify your home games are vital.

“We have started very well with the win in Marseille, but you know if you win the second game at home you have a good chance to qualify. I wouldn't say it's already a decisive game. but it's a game that will have a great weight on the end result of the qualifying teams. Let's deal well with that situation then we will be in a very positive mood to finish the job.”

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