Arsene Wenger has revealed that Arsenal rejected a chance to sign Anthony Martial because the Gunners' manager considered the teenager a winger. The French international joined Manchester United from AS Monaco on deadline day.
The north London club already have the services of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alexis Sanchez and Joel Campbell who can play in the wide position. The 19-year-old's agent Philippe Lamboley has criticised Wenger for his "more of a winger than a striker" comment about his client.
The French manager was assured by the Ligue 1 outfit that Martial and his former teammate Layvin Kurzawa would not be sold in the recently concluded transfer window. However, Monaco allowed both players to leave and the defender joined Paris Saint-Germain earlier this summer, while Martial completed his £36m move to Old Trafford.
"He was more of a winger in his [early] career. He played the final part of last season as a striker. Monaco's statement was always that two players, Martial and Layvin Kurzawa, would not move. I thought they would maintain that but in the end both of them moved," Wenger is quoted as saying by Arsenal's official website.
Martial made his debut in United's 3-1 win over Liverpool at Old Trafford on 12 September. He came on as a substitute and scored the Red Devils' final goal of the match. Since then, he has scored three more goals in last three matches played in all competitions.
Louis van Gaal has already predicted a bright future for Martial. His Arsenal counterpart has admitted he is surprised by the striker's form since joining the 20-time English champions from Monaco.
"It's a surprise because sometimes it's quite difficult at the start. To maintain that will be very difficult for him so he will have to have some understanding of that as well if he starts to score less," the Arsenal manager explained.
"He has already set the expectation level very high. I'm not surprised that he's done well because he's a very talented player."