Wilfried Zaha was “not very close at all” to joining Arsenal during the summer, according to Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson.
The Gunners reportedly made a bid of £40m for Zaha in July before interest from Everton in the Palace forward, and he is reported to have handed in a transfer request late in the window.
Hodgson’s side are at Arsenal on Sunday, and he was asked at his pre-match press conference how close Zaha was to moving to the Emirates Stadium.
He replied: “Not very close at all as far as I know.
“I believe that the money that was offered which was widely reported was reasonably accurate, and of course that was way below our valuation.”
Hodgson was then asked if he hoped Zaha would go into Sunday’s contest looking to prove a point, after it was suggested Arsenal – who signed Nicolas Pepe for a fee believed to be worth £72m in August – did not want the Ivory Coast international enough.
He said: “Time passed, so maybe their situation changed.
“Maybe when they made the offer for Wilf their situation was x, and then possibly things happened during a period of time and their situation changed and maybe more money became available. I have no idea. I can’t speak for Arsenal, for their intentions.
“If you really wanted to know how serious, how anxious they were to sign one of our players, they will have to answer the question.
“But as far as Wilf is concerned, I think he needs to make certain that he gives his very best and shows off his talents every time he plays, because there are lots of teams out there looking for good players, and if he wants to attract one of those clubs, he needs to perform at the very highest level.
“I don’t think the fact it is Arsenal will change his performance enormously – I would hope not, because I’m expecting his performance to be very good against all the teams we play.”