Arsenal have become a running joke at this stage in relation to their “almost XI”.
Time and time again, it would seem that the Gunners have come close to securing a superstar signing only to buckle at the final negotiating hurdle and opt for a cheaper alternative.
The recruitment issue around the Emirates is one of the main reasons for supporters’ frustration and eagerness to see manager Arsene Wenger leave his post but that problem has been in existence long before this season.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Vincent Kompany were all reportedly near-misses for Wenger over the years while we’re all aware of his infamous attempts to sign Luis Suarez.
Only this week Wenger clarified his side of the Suarez story, insisting that the striker wanted to join the Gunners before he eventually moved to Barcelona the next season.
Stubbornness seems to have been the key reason for most, if not all, of the potential deals’ failure to get over the line as Arsenal have a notoriously strict stance on holding firm with their offers.
And that’s precisely what led them to miss out on then-Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso in 2008, according to the Spanish midfielder.
“I was really close to Juventus and I was close to Arsenal”, he told the Liverpool Echo.
“But, it was just £3m. Liverpool were asking £18m and both offered £15m – so that’s why it didn’t happen.”
For a refusal to budge on £3 million, Arsenal missed out on one of the best midfielders on the market and one who ultimately went on to sign for Real Madrid and win La Liga, the Champions League and two Copa del Reys.
In Alonso’s stead, Wenger decided to bring in Samir Nasri and Andrey Arshavin that summer.
We’re saying nothing!