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The Top 15 players that nearly signed for Arsenal

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Time will tell if Arsenal are letting a talent slip through our fingers by not making Dennis Suarez’s loan permanent. In a few years we could look back at is as a mistake. It did give me an idea for my next list (it’s the international break so I like my lists). Arsene Wenger has always been fairly open about those who nearly became Gunners, apparently not thinking it might depress some Gooners to learn just how close we came to recruiting some famous names. To clarify these are not names who have simply been linked to us through the press. The majority have admissions that interest was very much real.

So here are 15 players who nearly signed for Arsenal FC…. by Dan Smith

Messi
Low on the list because Arsene Wenger has always denied suggestions that only getting the right apartment stopped us from getting Messi. Not for the first or last time, we raided Barcelona’s famed academy. We had convinced Fabregas to pack his bags, but he wanted his two best friends to come with him. As teenagers at the time, Arsenal were dealing with the parents as much as the players and wouldn’t give in to certain demands. Pique joined Man United while Wenger maintains he felt Messi never wanted to leave Spain, nothing to do with living arrangements.

Fabregas
The only positive to Fabregas re-joining Barcelona was at least we had been smart enough to include a buy back option, meaning if Barca wanted to sell, we get first refusal for a reduced price. Our ex-skipper could not have made it clearer that the Emirates was his chosen destination, but Wenger felt he had enough in midfield with Wilshire and Ramsey. With their respective injury records, there was no guarantees they would stay fit, making many to suggest this was more Wenger not being happy with how his captain left.

Cech
Of course, we did end up making this signing, with the keeper due to retire a gooner. As respected as he is in the dressing room though (one of the few leaders we have) it’s fair to say we got him when he was no longer considered one of the best in the world. By his own admission, he could have joined us as early as 17 but one of our scouts felt he lacked that ‘something’. I hope that man got sacked.

Makalele
This is a hard one. On one hand Arsenal were offered a chance to have one of the best DMs of all time, a problem position for us. On the other hand, Nantes sent feeders out at the worst possible time, when we had just brought another French youngster, Viera. Arsene Wenger felt he had to show faith with the teenager and let’s be fair, he was kind of proven correct

Buffon
In 2001 Arsene Wenger was caught having dinner with the Parma star. Neither could admit it was a business meeting as that would be tapping up. Yet it’s no coincidence this meal took place as the search began for a replacement for David Seaman. Juventus put 32 million on the table which Arsenal felt was an insane amount of money at the time.

Carlos
Looking for one last payday after leaving Real Madrid, the Brazilian sent out a come and get me plea to Arsene Wenger, calling Arsenal a ‘dream move’. Instead of getting one of the world’s most famous left backs on a free though, it was decided it be better to pay 6 million for Santos.

Varane
A classic example of what would let Mr Wenger down in his final years at the club. He started to dawdle, with no one above him stepping in to be more decisive. Everything was done right in terms of the player being scouted extensively at Lens. The Frenchmen made it clear he would be open to a move. But as Arsenal stressed about every last pound, Real Madrid swooped in overnight and suddenly the deal was dead

Kompany
Not just Arsenal, the Belgian was talking to some big clubs, including Real Madrid when deciding to leave Anderlecht. His agent said, all his client wanted to hear was assurances that he would get game time. Despite looking for someone to replace Sol Campbell, Arsene Wenger wasn’t willing to make any promises. The response was that Kompany was not the type to be 3rd of 4th choice anywhere.

Gareth Bale
Arsenal had struck up a good relationship with Southampton by giving them decent money for academy graduates Walcott and the Ox. Out of courtesy, the Saints let us know that they had another teenager making quick progress, Gareth Bale. Arsene Wenger’s answer was he already had enough left backs, apparently not believing the Welshman could play further advanced.

Ronaldinho
Before he announced himself to the world at PSG, Arsene Wenger already knew about the Brazilian’s talents. He went as far as on more than one occasion meeting the midfielder’s brother. The only thing that stopped this from happening was a failure to get a work permit.

Luis Suarez
Arsene has admitted he spoke to the player, with wages agreed, after Suarez believed that he had a 40 million release clause in his contract. Arsenal thought they had triggered that by offering 40 million and a pound. It’s believed John W Henry was so insulted he dug his heels in even deeper, giving Steven Gerrard the chance to have a heart to heart with the striker, telling him if he was patient, his dream move to Spain would happen.

Yaya Touré
Some Gooners might not know this but Yaya Touré has in fact played a game for us. With Kolo Touré on our books, he suggested that his baby brother was also quite decent at football. So, his sibling played at Barnet and did well enough to earn a transfer. Complications then existed over getting a work permit, something Arsene Wenger has been critical about. Despite being outspoken though, the consensus is more could have been done to make this deal happen.

Drogba
For years Arsenal benefited from Mr Wenger’s knowledge of the French and Africa market, something his rivals would catch him up on. A good scout is someone who can identify potential while finding value for money. So, the Frenchmen was told about a striker who was available for 100,000 but the feeling was he was still too raw at the time. His name was Drogba who went on to terrorise us.

Ibrahimović
He visited Arenal, describing our shirt as ‘the famous red and white’. He was so honoured to be offered the number 9 Jersey, took photos with it, so clearly the Swede was open to the move. Apparently though he was offended by the idea of a trial. It’s easy with hindsight, seeing how good the striker would become, to criticise Arsene Wenger. The Frenchmen was only following the club’s policy and most of the time you would question a youngster’s attitude if they thought a trial was beneath them. Little did the club realise it at the time, they were dealing with one of the biggest egos to ever exist.

Ronaldo
He came so close to joining us, he was even shown round our Colney training ground. That all changed when Sporting Lisbon happened to play Man United in a friendly. If Sir Alex Ferguson’s pre-season schedule hadn’t included a trip to Portugal how different history would have been? The story goes that United’s senior players were so amazed by the teenager they just faced, they told their manager to make a deal happen. With Carlos Quieroz at Old Trafford, he convinced his countrymen to choose them over us.

Dan Smith

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Could the pressure get to Man City and will Arsenal make top four? – TACKLE KEOWN

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Should Manchester United sell Marcus Rashford, could the pressure get to Man City’s players and will Arsenal make top four? – TACKLE KEOWN

  • There is a bumper weekend of action at the top and bottom of Premier League
  • Manchester City and Liverpool are going toe-to-toe in their battle for the title
  • Arsenal have suffered a blip and could miss out on a place in the top four 
  • Join us as Martin Keown answers YOUR questions in this week’s Tackle Keown 

Sportsmail columnist Martin Keown is back to answer your questions ahead of a busy weekend of action in the Premier League.

Manchester City and Liverpool are going toe-to-toe in the battle for the Premier League title, while below them teams falter in their challenge for the top four.

Martin’s old side Arsenal are one side who are going through a blip in form, and the Gunners are just one of the subjects being tackled by our columnist this week.

Scroll down to read through all of Martin’s answers to your questions…

If you are using the MailOnline app, please click HERE to view the live blog.



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Eric Bailly – Should Arsenal sign this Man United reject?

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When I first saw the Eric Bailly to Arsenal rumour my initial thought was no way, we do not want or need another Manchester United flop, however, on reflection, I am of the opinion that he may well be worth signing.

I watched Bailly against Paris St Germain and he was woeful but he should not be judged on just that one game because if that was the case we would have no team left after the games against Everton, Crystal Palace and Wolves.

The Ivory Coast international has clearly not had a great time with United since signing for them three years ago for a cool £30 Million but let’s be honest, they are a dysfunctional lot at Old Trafford and players that have failed up there over the last few years can be given another chance under the right circumstances.

United signed Bailly when he was just 22-years-old, well away from his prime and still a work in progress, he was bought for a significant sum of money and by all accounts was a success in Spain with Villarreal.

What this means to me is that we can sign a player that can easily recapture his previous form for a sum of money far less than what he is probably truly worth and that our manager is familiar with him from his time in Spain as the Sevilla manager.

We clearly need defenders I am not sure anyone would disagree with that and as Bailly is right now he is not an obvious choice but his age, raw talent and value makes him a player we should seriously consider buying.

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Arsenal operations manager Ameesh Manek charged over tunnel row

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Arsenal operations manager Ameesh Manek charged with misconduct by the FA after tunnel row with Crystal Palace staff

  • Ameesh Manek was involved in a heated exchange at the Emirates on Sunday 
  • Arsenal’s operations manager clashed with Crystal Palace staff in the tunnel
  • Sportsmail understands he did not use discriminatory words during the incident
  • Key members of staff from both clubs were surprised to hear about the charge

Arsenal first-team operations manager Ameesh Manek has been charged with misconduct following a heated exchange with Crystal Palace staff last weekend.

The Football Association have confirmed the Gunners staff member has been charged following an incident at half-time of the home defeat to the Eagles on Sunday.

It is understood the charge relates to an incident in the Emirates tunnel during which Manek is alleged to have been abusive to opposition members of staff.

Arsenal operations manager Ameesh Manek (circled) has been charged with misconduct

Arsenal operations manager Ameesh Manek (circled) has been charged with misconduct

Sportsmail understands Manek was did not use discriminatory language during the flashpoint. Sources claim the incident was not aggravated, relatively low-key and was quickly defused.

Indeed, key members of staff from both clubs were surprised to hear the news that Manek had been charged on Friday morning.

Nevertheless, the FA, after studying the referee’s report, have seen fit to charge Manek.

Alexandre Lacazette walks near the Emirates tunnel where the incident took place on Sunday

Alexandre Lacazette walks near the Emirates tunnel where the incident took place on Sunday

Alexandre Lacazette walks near the Emirates tunnel where the incident took place on Sunday 

A statement read: ‘Ameesh Manek, Arsenal’s First Team Operations Manager, has been charged with misconduct following the fixture between Arsenal and Crystal Palace on Sunday [21/04/19] in the Premier League.

‘It is alleged his language and/or behaviour in or around the tunnel area at half time of the fixture amounts to improper conduct.

‘He has until Tuesday [30/04/19] to provide a response.’

 



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