Arsene Wenger: 'Of course' Arsenal players were tapped up this summer

LONDON -- Arsene Wenger says it would be "naive" to think some of his players didn't get "tapped up" by other clubs shortly before the team's 4-0 loss to Liverpool.

Premier League clubs voted to end the next year's summer transfer window before the first game, and Wenger told a news conference that he could never be sure if his players were "tapped up in the afternoon of the game by people who want to get them out."

Asked later whether he thought such an instance had happened to his players at Liverpool -- a question clearly referring to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who joined the Reds days later -- Wenger said: "I don't know. 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.

"France played against Holland on the last day of the transfer window. Do you really think that not one French player or Dutch player had phone calls in the afternoon about do they move or not?

"You're not naive enough to believe that. That's why you have to scrap it before the season starts."

Wenger chose to start both Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alexis Sanchez at Anfield before the international break despite uncertainty about their futures, and both players' commitment was questioned after the team's dismal performance.

Oxlade-Chamberlain joined Liverpool on transfer deadline day, while a deal for Sanchez to go to Manchester City collapsed on deadlne day -- as he was preparing to play for Chile in a crucial World Cup qualifier.

Despite Oxlade-Chamberlain's decision to leave Arsenal, Wenger was adamant that he didn't think the player was affected by the transfer speculation.

"If I am a football player, I can perform even if Liverpool is in my head," the Arsenal boss said. "I don't think that should stop you to perform. Did it? I think he was not worse than any other player on the football pitch."

Wenger also reiterated that he still thinks there's a chance that Sanchez could end up signing a new contract at Arsenal, and that he will stay professional despite the failed Man City move.

"You cannot be at that level and be disappointed and not play. I believe if you love to play football, you will play football," Wenger said. "There is a chance [he'll extend his contract], yes. ... He is committed and focused on Arsenal. That's what makes me believe it.

"You [the media] are absolutely convinced that he's not. But at the end of the day, he is 29 years old in December, he knows his football years are counted at that level, especially with the evolution of the game now, so you have to enjoy every minute."