Close but no cigar
Now former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has revealed that the club nearly signed Cristiano Ronaldo before he signed for Manchester United.
The Portuguese star needs no introduction and has taken the world by storm since his move to Old Trafford and then onto Real Madrid.
Though, it could have been very different if Arsenal would have splashed the case for Ronaldo, instead baulking at the £12million fee.
What could have been
Speaking to Arsenal’s club website, as cited by Sky Sports, Arsene Wenger revealed just how close they came to signing Ronaldo.
“The obvious player [Arsenal missed out on] that comes to mind is Ronaldo,” he explained.
“He was here with his mother and we were very close. Then Man United came in and they had Carlos Queiroz at the time, who was their coach.
“United played against Sporting Lisbon and Ronaldo was outstanding and they signed him.
“Once we were at £4.5m, we were still in negotiations. David [Dein] met with [agent Jorge] Mendes in Paris and he was representing Sporting, so we were very close. But Man United went to £12m, which we could not afford at the time.”
Not the only time
Ronaldo wasn’t the only world class players that Arsenal went after either.
Apart from the well known Zlatan Ibrahimovic story, Arsene Wenger also went after Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique.
As expected, the move fell through because of agents in Pique’s case and Barcelona in Messi’s case.
“I met Cesc’s [Fabregas] parents and at the time we were interested in Messi and [Gerard] Pique as well.” he continued.
“We tried for the three but of course, it didn’t work out…because of the agents.
“With Messi, Barcelona didn’t want to lose him of course and they made [the offer] that was needed to keep the player at the club.”