Per Mertesacker April Fool's Day joke revealed at Arsenal conference in London Colney
PUBLISHED: 10:31 02 April 2015 | UPDATED: 12:20 02 April 2015
The tables were turned at Arsenal's press conference today (Thursday) when a journalist discovered during a broadcast that he had been tricked by an April's Fool's joke about Per Mertesacker giving a live team talk before Saturday's match against Liverpool.
The Daily Mail yesterday carried a story claiming that fans would be able to watch Mertesacker and Jordan Henderson speaking to their sides after the Premier League convinced clubs to be part of an experiment.
It added that social media tool Periscope would broadcast the clips to football lovers across the globe, kickstarting a “revolution by taking fans inside the dressing room”.
When the exciting news was raised with Arsene Wenger to comment on, however, a look of utter confusion passed over the Arsenal boss’s face.
The journalist looked embarrassed after he was quickly put in the clear by fellow reporters, who told him it was just an April Fool’s Day prank.
In team news ahead of the Premier League match with Liverpool, Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Debuchy and Abou Diaby are all back in training after playing on Tuesday.
The Gunners have been continuing their rehabilitation from injury, as they played in a friendly at the club’s training grounds in London Colney, with Arsenal XI beating Brentford 4-0.
However Wenger admitted they are a “bit short of top level competitive” play.
He added: “I was quite surprised by how fit they look and the quality of their performance was good.”
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is still out and Danny Welbeck has a “little chance” of being available on Saturday after suffering a minor knee injury.
He said Saturday’s match with Liverpool was a big game, but he hoped Arsenal could continue its run, and “focus on winning”.
With people “raving” about Tottenham and England star Harry Kane, Wenger was asked whether Welbeck had been overlooked given that he had received man-of-the match against Lithuania.
Wenger admitted: “Maybe, but I don’t overlook him personally. He has played many, many games for us and he is an important player who not only scores goals but contributes a lot to the team work.
“He is a team player and I believe technically he has improved a lot, more mature and composed. He has huge attributes.
“It is good for England to have many options, and chose the best one.”
Asked about Abou Diaby, and talks about a new deal in March, Wenger confirmed that he had had a chat with the player and, “told him how I envisage the future, he has to make a decision; of course he understands completely that he has to perform and show that he can be present in a consistent way.
“I will see where we go from there.”
Asked whether that meant he would offer Diaby a deal, Wenger replied: “Ahh, I don’t want to go into details as we have to meet again to see where we go from.”
He would not be drawn on discussion of any “supposed move” on other players.
• Arsenal V Liverpool, Emirates Stadium, Saturday April 4 12.45pm