By London correspondent Tony Hughes
Arsenal did not sign Dimitri Payet because he was too old and they did not need him, according to Arsene Wenger.
The Gunners manager has revealed that the West Ham playmaker was regularly scouted before he made his move to east London from Marseille last summer.
But Wenger and his recruitment team overlooked Payet and the Frenchman does not regret that decision even though the player has taken the Premier League by storm this season.
“I have known him for a long, long time,” Wenger said on Thursday, as quoted by radio station talkSPORT. “He played in St-Etienne and we watched him many times.
“I think he has all the attributes to be a top, top player but he is 29-years-old already. I had these kind of players, we had no need [to sign him].
“Historically we have always had a great number of creative players. We have [Mesut] Ozil, [Jack] Wilshere, [Santi] Cazorla, [Aaron] Ramsey.”
The free-kick specialist, who was recently recalled to the France squad, will bid to continue his fine form against the Gunners on Saturday.
Payet has scored 12 goals in 31 West Ham matches this season, nine of which have come from 24 league matches.
He scored his third free-kick in four matches for club and country in the Hammers’ 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace last Saturday.
The point against Palace leaves the Hammers in fifth position and just three points behind fourth-placed Manchester City.
Arsenal are third in the Premier League, 11 points adrift of leaders Leicester with a game in hand.
In other Arsenal news, the club have announced a new contract signing on Thursday.