In an outspoken interview with the Italian press, Arsene Wenger not only bet an ice cream that Robin van Persie would not move to Serie A, but he labelled it as an inferior league.
"In Italy there are big problems and your league is at a level lower than the Premier League. Serie A is at a low level now," Corriere dello Sport quoted him as saying.
"There is no reason at all why a great player would come and play in your league. The Italian league was once extraordinary, and I remember well, when the league had 16 teams and each team had it's own champion. Now it is not the case."
It would be easy to point to Arsenal's 4-0 hammering in Milan in February and ask him quite what he means, and despite the Gunners 3-0 second leg win, they were still knocked out of the Champions League by the Italian runners-up.
What Wenger is alluding to is a lack of strength in depth in the league, but unless the feted Anglo-Italian Cup is brought back, we might just never know who is a worse standard, bottom club Novara or Wolverhampton Wanderers.
A league which saw a team as talented as Napoli finish fifth, Inter sixth and Roma seventh surely isn't lacking for competition, and boasts many of the best players in the world including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Gianluigi Buffon and Edinson Cavani.
Both the Premier League and La Liga pull in more money through global television revenue and the Bundesliga is threatening to overtake Serie A and the rest, so Wenger is right in that regard, even if results on the pitch can always be debated to and fro.
Where Serie A is believed to have fallen behind in recent years is success in the Champions League where teams once dominated. Inter Milan won in 2010, without a single Italian in the line-up, and AC Milan in 2007, and while talks of the league's demise are greatly exaggerated, Wenger is right in inferring that the league is no longer the number one destination for stars it once was.
If Van Persie was to leave for Juventus, it could change all that, but the Arsenal manager's words could have an effect on the forthcoming game this Sunday.
While there are differences between a domestic league and a national team, Italy and England are relatively unique cases with very few players electing to play abroad with Mario Balotelli the only crossover between the two countries. Players will be representing their league as well as their countries when they do battle on Sunday.
If an outspoken backer of the Italian league had come out and talked down the Premier League, you can bet there would be national condemnation in this country, and Wenger's words may just have a galvanising effect.
In the same 'pin the words up in the dressing room before the game' mantra to spur on players when an opponent or manager has been bad-mouthing or writing them off in the press, the Italians would do well to take Wenger's words and use them to prove a point.
If they beat England comfortably on Sunday, Wenger's criticisms of the Italian league may not carry quite the same weight as it would if England run out easy winners.
Is Wenger right in his comments? Will Sunday's result make him right or wrong?
image: © mitsurinho