Arsene Wenger has revealed he did not move for Anthony Martial because he believed Monaco when they declared he would not be sold.
The 19-year-old went on to join Manchester United in a big-money move and has scored four goals in as many games to kick off his career at Old Trafford.
Despite being criticised by Martial’s agent Philippe Lamboley, Wenger again insisted Martial is more suited to playing as a winger than a striker.
“He was more a winger in his whole career and he played the final part of the season last year as striker,” said the Gunners’ manager.
“But Monaco’s statement was always that the two players that would not move were Martial and [Layvin] Kurzawa, so I thought they would maintain that. But in the end both of them moved.”
Wenger has been impressed by how quickly Martial has settled in England’s top-flight, but does not expect him to continue scoring at such a rapid rate as the season progresses.
“It is a surprise because sometimes the start is difficult,” he said.
“He needs to maintain that and it will be very difficult for him. You have to have some understanding if he starts to score less, because he has already set the expectation at a very high level.
“But I am not surprised he does well because he is a very talented player.”
Wenger had earlier been criticised by Lamboley, who slammed Wenger for only deciding to keep tabs on his client, rather than having the courage to bring him to the Premier League.
“Anthony is a true modern centre-forward. I am surprised by the analysis of Wenger, who has apparently followed him since he was an adolescent,” Lamboley told RMC.
“But in football there are those who follow players and those that buy them.
“I don’t agree [with Wenger] because Anthony scored between 25-30 goals a season when he was in Lyon’s youth academy and never played as a winger.
“When he goes wide and then comes central, it’s to pick up speed and get away from the centre-backs.”