Arsene Wenger has questioned whether Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was tapped up by Liverpool before his transfer to Anfield.
Oxlade-Chamberlain completed a £35m move to Liverpool on Deadline Day, four days after Arsenal’s 4-0 defeat to the Reds.
And Wenger also raised questions on players’ mentality prior to matches with the transfer market in motion.
“Even in the games, you sit there before the games and even in players’ minds they have no clarity. 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?” Wenger said.
“You are not naive 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.”
Wenger brought in striker Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon this summer for a club-record fee, and understands the difficulty for players when clubs are showing an interest – but does not see it as an excuse to underperform.
“If I am a football player, I can perform even if Liverpool is in my head,” Wenger added.
“I don’t think that should stop you to perform. Did it? I think he [Oxlade-Chamberlain] 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.”
The Premier League announced on Thursday that the summer transfer window will close before the season’s opening game, putting an end to signings three games into the campaign.
It is a decision the Arsenal boss supports, with the players’ mindset entirely focused on the season ahead once the market shuts.
“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,” Wenger said.
“That’s why you have to scrap it before the season.”