Arsenal’s almost ‘XI’: Players that could have signed for the Gunners


If you could list down all the great players in Football currently, it would be quite big, wouldn’t it?

Even then the chances are, one in four would have been ‘almost signed’ by Arsene Wenger.

Transfers have become a vital part in the growth of any football club. Given the competitive nature of the game, a manager has to resort to big-money transfers to churn out the results. Low-key transfer activity is always advisable, but with Arsene Wenger, there is no such thing as discreet.  Soon after the transfer window shuts, trust Arsene to make his transfer aspirations public.

In the press-conference before their Premier League encounter against West Brom, Arsene once again dropped the bombshell.

Wenger said: “We were interested in him when he moved from Villa to City. But City were the big investors then, and that financial potential was superior to ours at the time.”

The player in question here is West Brom’s Gareth Barry. Barry is set to claim the record for all-time Premier League appearances when he takes to the field against Arsenal on Monday night.

But he’s just one of the infinite names that Arsene ‘could have signed’. If we were to make an XI of Arsene’s supposed XI, it could be one of the toughest teams to beat.

Let’s put forward a 3-4-3 of Arsene’s ‘Almost XI’.


Gigi Buffon

Starting in goal, is one of the best goalkeepers of this generation, Gigi Buffon. Buffon admitted Arsene’s interest in his services during his Parma days; but says the Frenchman could not table a substantial deal as he was unsure of his potential. Classic Arsene!


Pique – Kompany – Varane

Gerard Pique has had one hell of a career at Barcelona. But it could have taken a different turn, had Arsene turned in the relevant paperwork in time. Once again, the delay in the decision lead to Pique moving to Manchester United; and Arsene had to settle for Philippe Senderos.

Vincent Kompany’s career has been blighted by injuries of late, but in his prime, he could have been considered as one of the best defenders in Europe. Before Kompany’s move to Hamburg, Arsenal had the chance to snap up the Belgian for a cut-price offer of £5 million, but Arsene wasn’t convinced.

Raphael Varane is another one that got away. Arsene Wenger has admitted scouting the young Frenchman during his days at Lens.


Gareth Bale and Roberto Carlos

Arsene Wenger admitted his reported interest in Gareth Bale during his Southampton days, but decided against the transfer as he felt Bale offered very little offensively. Really Arsene?

This might come as a surprise to many but Roberto Carlos was touted for a move to the Premier League after his Real Madrid contract expired. But a deal never surfaced. Work that one out.



Ngolo Kante and Paul Pogba

Arsene Wenger’s adoration for Ngolo Kante was made public following Chelsea’s 3-1 victory over Arsenal last season. The diminutive midfielder proved to be the x-factor, as he was followed by the League title in his move from Leicester to Chelsea. Arsenal currently lack a midfield of Kante’s calibre, one that can snap at heels and cover up for the defence.

Paul Pogba’s homecoming would not have happened, had Arsene persuaded the Frenchman before his move to Juventus. Imagine what might have been had Pogba chosen to play at the Emirates!



Ronaldo – Suarez – Messi

Cristiano Ronaldo’s famed time in England could have been different, had Manchester United not played Sporting Lisbon in 2003. The Portuguese prodigy had been shown around Arsenal’s Colney training complex while his agent and the club were preparing a £4 million deal for the 18-year-old. But after the friendly against Manchester United, Ferguson intervened and the rest, as they say, is history.

The year 2002/03 witnessed two of the best talents from La Masia trade Catalunya for a life in the Premier League in Pique and Fabregas. But it has surfaced that Arsene Wenger had attempted to get a certain 16 year old named Lionel Messi to the Emirates. Messi’s reluctance and Arsene’s hesitation to offer more than what was expected ultimately led to the breaking down of the move. Once again, what might have been!

Luis Suarez has established himself as one of the best strikers in World Football following two stellar spells at Liverpool and Barcelona. But during his last few days at Liverpool, he could have made the swap for Arsenal. Brendan Rodgers announced that Luis Suarez would not go for anything below £40 million. How does Arsene respond? In typical Arsene style, Arsenal tabled a bid of, and we’re not kidding, £40 million and 1 pound.