Arsene Wenger revealed that he could have signed Kylian Mbappe for Arsenal, and it’s not the first time the former Gunners’ boss has made similar claims about players.
By Ryan Sidle
The 71-year-old managed the likes of Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Robert Pires and Patrick Vieira to an undefeated season and there were many other brilliant players besides.
However, according to Wenger, he might have managed even more incredible players, including two of the best ever, and Mbappe is the latest name to be added to the list.
Over the years the former Monaco manager has, at one time or another, claimed he could have, or nearly did, sign many brilliant players.
Speaking after Mbappe’s hat-trick against Barcelona this week, Wenger told beIN Sports, “We can talk about Mbappe, I was at his home when he was undecided whether to extend his contract with Monaco.”
And now we can add the World Cup winner to an XI of Wenger’s what might have been, and admittedly it’s a bit of an attacking line up:
In goal, Buffon revealed that he had talks with the former Arsenal boss, saying, “I remember when I was 20 years old in 1998, I had dinner once with Wenger.”
From the three defenders it was Wenger himself who revealed he tried to sign Varane, when he was at Lens, and Pique, when he did manage to get Cesc Fabregas to leave Barcelona for north London.
Kompany’s agent Jacques Lichtenstein revealed that the Belgian was a wanted man when he was 20, saying, “I had meetings with Emilio Butragueno at Real Madrid, the club leaders at Barcelona and Arsene Wenger himself at Arsenal. But heading to an absolute top club immediately was not the right solution because Vincent is someone who feels alone in an environment where he is not properly valued.”
Wenger said he tried to sign N’Golo Kante when he was playing in France, presumably when he was a Caen player before moving to Leicester City.
Yaya Toure, brother of former Gunner Kolo, played for the team in a pre season friendly but passport issues stopped him signing, with Wenger saying the failed transfer was “up at the top [of my list of regrets].”
The three time Premier League winning manager tried to sign Pogba off his old rivals Manchester United for free, revealing, “We were interested in him. We tried to get him to come here, but he very quickly signed for Juventus.”
Wenger told beIN Sports that he attempted to sign Sancho, and bring him back to London, when he left Manchester City. Initially it was felt a return down south was part of his desire to leave but the winger moved to Borussia Dortmund.
Cristiano Ronaldo was shown around the club with the former manager revealing, “I showed him around and I gave him a shirt. It had his name on the back,” Liverpool were also in for the Sporting youngster, before United signed him and the rest was history.
Finally, along with Pique, the Gunners also wanted to encourage Lionel Messi to swap Spain for England when they signed Fabregas, with Wenger saying, “I think in the end he was not so keen to move. It was down to the fact that Messi was comfortable at Barcelona.”
What might have been!