Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger insists they were never close to land Eden Hazard ahead of Chelsea. Wenger tried to buy Hazard from Lille but withdrew interest when realising that incredibly wealthy clubs such as Chelsea and Manchester City were also in pursuit and offering huge wages.
"Yes,'' Wenger said when asked on Thursday whether he had been in the hunt for Hazard. "The transfer price was fixed, because he had a clause, so everybody was at the same level.
"He has been voted best player of the French league two consecutive years. You need some quality to do that at his age. I'm not surprised at all that he goes to Chelsea, and straight away is one of their stars because everybody knew about him.
"Let's not forget that all the big budgets in England were after him. We are not scared to spend the money, but we feel that even if we spend our money, with some clubs we can't compete on certain players."