Sterling never in Wenger's list of must-haves

Arsene Wenger says Raheem Sterling is a top-class player and a good buy for Man City.
Arsene Wenger says Raheem Sterling is a top-class player and a good buy for Man City. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted that he thought Raheem Sterling's move from Liverpool to Manchester City was inevitable, even before a £49 million (S$103 million) English record fee for the England winger was agreed between both clubs yesterday.

"It looked a done deal a while ago, Sterling was adamant that he wanted the move," Wenger told reporters upon arrival at Changi Airport's JetQuay CIP Terminal at Changi Airport yesterday. "For me, he is a top-class player. I think it's a good buy for Manchester City, an expensive one but they can afford it.

"Personally, I like Sterling."

However, when queried on whether he had ever lodged a bid for Sterling, Wenger said: "No... because he plays in an area we have plenty of players."

Though there was much buzz over the pursuit of Sterling by City, Wenger was also fascinated with Manchester United's double swoop for midfielders Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin.

"We knew they would not be happy to finish outside the top three and they would respond," the 65-year-old Frenchman noted.



    Training at National Stadium

    • 5.30pm to 6.30pm (Arsenal)

    6.45pm to 7.45pm ( Everton) 8pm to 9pm (Stoke)

    • Open to members of the public by invitation only

    Premier League Community Festival

    • Jalan Besar Stadium, 5.30pm to 7.45pm

    Coaches will demonstrate what they have learnt from the Premier Skills programme and referees will officiate in a mini-tournament involving 150 local children in a festival.

    • Three players each from Arsenal, Everton and Stoke will be present

    Arsenal Puma away kit launch

    • Esplanade Outdoor Theatre, 8pm to 10pm

    • Some players will be present

"They made interesting buys, coming out of the season thinking they have to rebuild their midfield.

"And they did it by buying two important, top-class players, one (Schneiderlin) who goes up to the top level now, and one (Schweinsteiger) who has done it all."

Everton manager Roberto Martinez, who arrived with his squad yesterday, added that the summer signings would only enhance the quality of the English Premier League.

"We expected a lot of business to be done.

"Every team is going to spend a lot of money to try to win the title," said the 42-year-old Spaniard.

"It makes it hard to not just win it, but get into the top four positions."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2015, with the headline 'Sterling never in Wenger's list of must-haves'. Subscribe