Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has ruled out the possibility of signing Luis Suarez from Liverpool this summer.
The Gunners tried in vain to recruit the Uruguayan during the transfer window last year, with Suarez himself pushing for a move away from Anfield.
But Wenger has ruled out a fresh attempt at luring the striker to north London and insists that he has no regrets about failing to secure his signature.
Arsenal are 12/1 with bet365 to beat Liverpool 2-1
“No because you have sometimes regrets when a player who played for you and scores goals and does well somewhere else but he was never our player,” he told reporters. “It’s just a situation that didn’t come off and that’s it.”
Asked if he would revisit the situation, Wenger replied: “No. At the moment, no.”
Suarez has since been welcomed back into the Liverpool fold and has helped the Reds push for a place in the top four of the Premier League with 23 goals in 19 appearances.
Wenger has moved his focus away from Suarez and on to a number of other big-name targets, with Schalke’s Julian Draxler the subject of negotiations throughout January.
Diego Costa, Fernando Llorente and Robert Lewandowski are other names who have been considered by the Frenchman in recent months, while there have been reports of a move for Bayern Munich frontman Mario Mandzukic after Lewandowski made his summer move to Bavaria official in January.
But when questioned about Draxler, Costa and Mandzukic, Wenger stressed that he is keen to focus on the match against Liverpool on Saturday. “You understand certainly very well that at the moment my focus is on Liverpool and not so much on the transfer market,” he remarked.
“All the players you name are big players but my eye is not on the transfer market at the moment.”
Arsenal travel to Anfield on Saturday and could go 11 points clear of the Reds with victory but Wenger believes that Brendan Rodgers’s side, unbeaten in seven matches, are in better shape than when they were beaten 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium in November.
“Liverpool are in a better position than when we last played them,” he added. “They have momentum.
“Saturday is a good moment for us to win a big game because we have a big month ahead. We had some good wins at Anfield. I have a lot of respect for the fans there, they know their football
“I think they are strong offensively with [Daniel] Sturridge, Suarez, Coutinho, [Raheem] Sterling and [Steven] Gerrard. We need to dominate the game in order to keep Suarez and Sturridge quiet. We must control possession.”
Wenger also confirmed that Jack Wilshere is in line to play some part against Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday, while Mikel Arteta is likely to feature.
Wilshere has not played since the 4-0 FA Cup victory over Coventry City on January 24, while Arteta looked to have picked up an injury during the closing stages of the 2-0 win against Crystal Palace on Sunday.