Wenger still tracking Smalling
Gunners boss has not given up on Cottagers defender
By Chris Burton. Last Updated: January 26, 2010 4:19pm
Smalling: In-demand defender
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is refusing to concede defeat in the race to sign Fulham starlet Chris Smalling.
"It just looks like Manchester United offered more money than us, but as long as the player has not signed anywhere it is not the end of it."
Arsene Wenger on Chris Smalling. Quotes of the week
The Cottagers are reported to have accepted a bid for the 20-year-old defender from reigning Premier League champions Manchester United.
It is also claimed that the Gunners saw an official approach for the England Under 21 international knocked back.
Wenger concedes that United have stolen the upper hand in the battle to secure Smalling's signature, but insists he will continue to pursue the youngster until a deal has been agreed.
"It just looks like Manchester United offered more money than us, but as long as the player has not signed anywhere it is not the end of it," said the Frenchman.
"Let's see what happens there.
"We will not come out on what we are doing exactly. It has come out [elsewhere], but that does not mean it is true. If we have anything more to tell you we will let you know."
Wenger has also played down speculation that he is chasing AC Milan striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, but admits Jack Wilshere appears destined to head out of the Emirates Stadium on loan before the winter transfer window slams shut.
"We have interest now from a few Premier League teams, it will be decided today (Tuesday) or tomorrow," Wenger said.
"Burnley is an opportunity. But, at the end of the day, Wilshere will have his word to say, because he needs to decide where he likes to go."
Arsenal saw their chances of landing a major trophy this season dented on Sunday when they crashed out of the FA Cup at the hands of Stoke, but Wenger has defended his decision to play an under-strength side at the Britannia Stadium and insists he has already forgotten about the 3-1 defeat.
He said: "I do what I feel is right and that's it.
"I have already forgotten Stoke, I did not know we even played at Stoke because I am focused on tomorrow. That is the most important thing."