Arsene Wenger says Arsenal didn’t want Sterling; hails Manchester United’s transfers


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has had his say on the transfer dealings of Manchester United and Manchester City.

[ MORE: Sterling to City agreed ]

Gunners fans across the world may be slightly envious of the teams who finished directly above and below them during the 2014-15 campaign, as United signed Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin on Monday to become their third and fourth signings of the summer.

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City have agreed an eye-watering $75 million fee with Liverpool for Raheem Sterling, and Arsenal were strongly linked with moves for both Sterling and Schneiderlin.

So, what did Arsenal’s boss think about these acquisitions by his rivals? He spoke to the media after landing in Singapore ahead of the Barclays Asia Trophy, which will be shown live on NBC Sports Live Extra this week.

“All these players are top-class players. (But) on the offensive front we have many creative players, midfield as well. They are players I know well and like – Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger and Sterling,” Wenger said. “But offensively we have plenty of players. For me Sterling is a top-class player. It’s a good buy for Man City. An expensive one, but they can afford it. Personally I like him. I didn’t make a bid because he plays in an area where we have plenty of players. We have Danny Welbeck, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Alexis Sanchez. Jack Wilshere can play there, Serge Gnabry.”

When asked about United’s transfer dealings, Wenger was highly complimentary about the business Arsenal’s rivals have managed to do so far this summer.

“We knew Manchester United wouldn’t be happy with finishing outside the top three, they will respond. They have made some interesting signings. They came out of the season thinking they have to rebuild their midfield, and they did it by buying two important players – Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin. “They are two top-class players. One who is now coming up to the top level – Schneiderlin – and one who has done it all. It will be interesting to see how they mix with the other players.”

So, Arsenal fans, are you pleased that your manager is lauding two rivals for their pickups this summer? Sure, Arsenal addressed a big need in signing a new goalkeeper in Petr Cech this summer, but the need for a top-class central midfielder and central defender remains.

[ MORE: De Gea to go on U.S. tour with United ]

Wenger suggested he is still keen to do business this summer but only if the deal is right for the north London club.

After a third-place finish in the PL standings last season and a second-straight FA Cup win, Wenger won’t want to add too many players this summer. But finding those quality players at the right price who are available is so tough. There is no point spending for the sake of it but there’s no doubt Arsenal need to strengthen, like their rivals are doing right now, in certain areas.

WATCH, STREAM: Wilson, Pukki score screamers amongst 10 a.m. ET kicks

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This season is going to be a challenge for Norwich City, but one of last season’s true heroes made sure the Canaries fans got a bit of home delight.

[ STREAM: All 10 a.m. ET kicks ]

Newcastle is visiting town on Saturday, and Teemu Pukki scored a delightful opener to give the Canaries a halftime lead.

It’s appropriate, as the volley takes a page out of Newcastle hero Alan Shearer’s playbook.

Norwich City 1-0 Newcastle UnitedSTREAM

Aston Villa 0-2 BournemouthSTREAM

And how about this from Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson, who is making Villa’s home return to the Premier League less than ideal.

VIDEO: Sadio Mane scores screamer for Liverpool v. Saints

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Sadio Mane has started the season in sensational fashion.

After scoring twice for Liverpool in their Super Cup final win against Chelsea on Wednesday, Mane curled home a stunning shot right on half time.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]  

Mane was playing against his former club and after Southampton had created the best chances, it was a huge boost for Liverpool to go in ahead at the break.

Click play on the video below to see Mane open the scoring in style.

Emery impressed with versatile Ceballos as Arsenal stays perfect

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Despite the score line, Unai Emery can be fairly happy with Arsenal’s performance in a 2-1 defeat of Burnley at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

On midfielder Dani Ceballos, though, Emery will be very pleased.

[ RECAP: Arsenal 2-1 Burnley ]

The Real Madrid loanee was the easy Man of the Match, his silky skill on the ball and quality industry endearing himself to Arsenal faithful. From Football.London:

“It’s to use his quality in the best position in our team. I spoke with him before coming here, it’s to play as an eight and a No.10. He started like a 10 but changed with Willock. He can feel better on the pitch.”

Emery will be less than pleased with his defense, who allowed a goal to early season Golden Boot candidate Ashley Barnes.

“We won in our moments we did the difference for 2-1. A lot of moments we couldn’t impose our gameplan because they pushed and their gameplan was a struggle for us.”

Watch Live: Saints v. Liverpool headlines five PL games

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Five Premier League games are coming up at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, as the second Matchweek of the new campaign comes roaring at us.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ] 

Southampton and Liverpool clash at St Mary’s in the main game at 10 a.m. ET, while two new boys have their first home games back in the PL.

Aston Villa host Bournemouth at Villa Park, while Norwich host Newcastle at Carrow Road. Elsewhere, Everton host Watford and West Ham travel to Brighton.

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You can access additional games by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold which also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

[ STREAM: “Goal Rush” here ]

For those of you familiar with the Premier League Breakaway Show during busy days (Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Championship Sunday etc.) in the PL, this will follow that model of being similar to the NFL RedZone with action shown from all of the games in the 10 a.m. ET window. More info is available here.

The schedule for all five games at 10 a.m. ET is below and you can stream each game live by clicking on the links.

10 a.m. ET: Southampton v. Liverpool – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Aston Villa v. Bournemouth – CNBC [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Brighton v. West Ham – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Everton v. Watford – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Norwich v. Newcastle – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]