The Arsenal manager has advocated the change of the dates of the transfer window to before the season actually starts, and now he has given the reasoning of preventing the ‘tapping up’ of players (obviously referring to Oxlade-Chamberlain) before (or even during) important matches.
Wenger explained why he had to sell the Ox rather than have so many players in the last year of their contracts, and he alluded to Liverpool turning his head. “Today in the Premier League, you have 107 players who go to the final year of their contract. In that, in every club, some are players that the clubs do not want to extend, and some are players that the clubs want to extend but don’t agree for financial reasons.
“And we have both sides: we have players we do not want to extend, and we have players we wanted to extend, where we could not find an agreement. So at some stage that means that every time you have to quantify the loss of income.
“And at the end of the day, you decide, ‘OK, we can do it for two or three, but not for four or five.’”
And as to Chamberlain’s abysmal showing against (his now new club) Liverpool, Wenger seemed to defend the Ox’s state of mind. “You sit there before the games and even in players’ minds they have no clarity,”
“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 naïve 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.
“If I am a football player, I can perform even if Liverpool is in my head. I don’t think that should stop you to perform.
“Did it? I think he 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.”
Yes the whole Arsenal team were rubbish at Anfield, but you can’t have a more destabilizing influence than fielding a player who is already ‘half out’ of the club, especially when you are facing the team he wants to join.
How on any planet is that sensible?