Arsenal Transfer News: Avoiding Wilfried Zaha Brings Up Questions for Gunners

Benjamin Klein@BenjaminJKleinContributor IIIJanuary 22, 2013

Was Arsenal ever really in on Wilfried Zaha?
Was Arsenal ever really in on Wilfried Zaha?Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

Arsenal’s pursuit of Wilfried Zaha has been strange, to say the least.

Zaha, currently playing for Crystal Palace, is one of the best young players available in the transfer window. The 20-year-old has yet to reach his full potential, but has a lot of skills that are attractive to clubs looking to add a forward.

It was thought that Arsenal would be one of those clubs, at least in the words of manager Arsene Wenger.

As documented by The Daily Mail, Wenger said in November of Zaha, “We are looking at every player who could strengthen our squad—but he is not more on the list than anyone else.”

It would seem that Wenger didn’t want to spill the beans on Arsenal’s interest in Zaha, which is understandable. Saying that they were definitely interested in him and he was on top of their list would likely just raise the price needed to acquire him.

From November through January, Arsenal continued to like what they saw from Zaha. Wenger was quoted as saying, “We are looking at him but at the moment we have not made a bid for him.”

Now whether Arsenal was planning a bid or not, one would still assume they would be interested in the young playmaker. The price to land the bright forward figured to be around £10-13 million, money which Arsenal could easily spend.

But now, Zaha looks to be headed to Manchester United on a £12 million deal, according to John Drayton of The Daily Mail.

Now it’s fine that Arsenal didn’t get Zaha; Wenger will be able to find other stars to add to his club’s roster. But what’s weird about the situation is what he said after learning of Zaha’s move to Manchester United.

“We were never in for Zaha. I don’t know if he will get to Man United. If he goes to Man United, good luck to him.”

So Wenger goes from being interested, to still interested but no bid yet, to never being interested in the first place. Seems a little fishy, doesn’t it?

Was Wenger bitter that he missed out on a player who could help Arsenal move out of sixth place in the Premier League standings?

Maybe Wenger put in a similar offer, but Crystal Palace went with Manchester United anyways. Then again, maybe the offer for Zaha was less than £12 million.

The extent of Arsenal’s interest in Zaha will never be fully known, but we can go off what Wenger said in the past. And by listening—or reading—what he said, it was perfectly clear that Arsenal went after Zaha.

Wenger now saying Arsenal never had any interest just doesn’t make sense.