Wenger reveals why he sold ‘tapped up’ Oxlade-Chamberlain

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Arsene Wenger spent the summer telling everyone that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was a player he wanted to keep at Arsenal, yet in the final week of the window sanctioned a £40m move to Liverpool.

The England international still played at Anfield, despite having told the manager he wanted to leave, and disappointed – as did most other Arsenal players on the day.

The Frenchman spoke about his decision to sell him, and said it was a question of having to get some money in with so many players in the final year of their contracts.

“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.’”

Wenger also suggested that Oxlade-Chamberlain had been tapped up by Liverpool, although stopped short of saying that was an influence on his performance in the 4-0 defeat.

“You sit there before the games and even in players’ minds they have no clarity,” he said.

“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.”

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