Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he does not regret failing to sign Liverpool striker Luis Suarez last summer, despite the Uruguay international being in lethal form this season.
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Wenger was unsuccessful in his attempt to lure Suarez to the Emirates Stadium after the Gunners’ 40,000,001 pound offer for the player was knocked back.
Arsenal were under the impression they were triggering a release clause with the bid, yet it proved to be a misunderstanding as Reds officials refused to do any business.
However, despite Suarez having scored 23 times this season, Wenger insists he does not look back with frustration on the aborted move, as he prepares to take on the former Ajax man at Anfield on Saturday.
“Sometimes you have regrets when a player who played for you and scores goals or does well somewhere else,” Wenger said. “He [Suarez] was never our player. It is a situation that didn’t come off and that’s it.
“For us, the important thing is to win the game [on Saturday]. What happened in the summer has nothing to do with that. If you want to win the game, what is for sure is he [Suarez] is one of the players you have to keep quiet.”
Wenger went on to rule out a further bid to sign Suarez. Asked if he would be likely to look again at a deal for the striker this summer, he said: "At the moment, no.''
The Gunners boss also suggested that the challenge of taking on Liverpool is not all about stopping their leading scorer.
“They are not just about him [Suarez],” he said. “Liverpool have a strong offensive force with Suarez, [Daniel] Sturridge, [Philippe] Coutinho, [Raheem] Sterling, [Steven] Gerrard in behind. All these players can score goals and make a difference. On our side, we need a strong defensive performance.
“Liverpool is in a better position now than they were before and they are a team who are fluent going forward and can put you under pressure. They have more players who can make a difference than they had in other years.
“One of our targets is to dominate the game and leave them as few balls as possible. At Liverpool, the task might be a bit more difficult but the philosophy has to be the same, to master the ball and keep the ball. We want to dominate the game and what we want to do is convince people that we have the quality and win games like this.”
Wenger has urged his Arsenal team to “enjoy” a run of fixtures that will see them take on Liverpool twice, welcome Manchester United to the Emirates and face Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
The Frenchman also laughed off the recent comments from Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, who suggested the Blues are not serious title contenders despite their win at Manchester City on Monday.
“They are in there, but it is easy to move out of the title race if he [Mourinho] doesn’t want to,” he said with a smile. “We focus on our side, on our results and don’t listen too much to what people say.
“I said one month ago and you didn’t believe me, there is no invincible team in the Premier League. There is a lot of quality in this league and it is just how close you are to your best that decides the game.
“When you are in a good position to fight for something, the closer you get to the end, every game becomes vital. This is a massive month for us. Every point is crucial now, but we have fought hard to be in this position so let’s just enjoy it and give our best.”