Arsene Wenger has admitted his interest in West Ham skipper Nigel Reo-Coker, but the Arsenal boss insists the North London side have never tabled a bid for the midfielder.
The England Under-21 international was strongly linked with both Manchester United and The Gunners over the summer, with Hammers boss Alan Pardew later revealing that the Upton Park outfit did indeed receive an approach for the 22-year-old on transfer deadline day.
With The Gunners now preparing to face Pardew's men in a London derby on Sunday, live on Sky Sports 1, Wenger has denied his club were responsible for the offer.
However, the Frenchman did reveal his admiration for the player who scored in a 3-2 win for The Hammers at Highbury in February.
"I like Reo-Coker but we never made a bid to West Ham for him," Wenger told the club's official website.
"He has a good work rate, technique and power. He has physical power.
"In the middle of the park he uses that very well, he is very incisive and wins the ball.
"He did that against us last year."
The bid for Reo-Coker was hugely overshadowed by the more extraordinary events at Upton Park on August 31 when Argentinian internationals Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez arrived from Corinthians.
The South American duo have failed to shine ever since though, with both players absent when West Ham ended their eight-game losing streak against Blackburn Rovers last weekend.
Wenger now expects the two talented stars - who had also been linked with a move to Emirates Stadium before their shock transfer to The Hammers - to be left out of Sunday's game as Pardew looks to continue West Ham's renaissance.
"I don't know enough about the problem [the players are having]," Wenger added.
"It's always better to get two more good players in and they are two good players.
"On Sunday they didn't play and West Ham won (against Blackburn) so I don't expect them to play against us."
One player who Wenger is wary of facing is former Manchester United and Tottenham striker Teddy Sheringham after the ever-green 40-year-old opened the scoring against Rovers last weekend.
However, the Frenchman is hopeful that The Gunners will bounce back from their wasteful display against CSKA Moscow on Wednesday to claim victory at Upton Park.
"We should get a lot of encouragement from the last two games and turn it our way by just trying to do better.
"Teddy Sheringham in the Blackburn game has showed how much experience can make a difference."