Today, we take a look at the top five players who could have been turning out in a red shirt over the past few years, as well as one that could go under the radar in years to come.
Only a work permit and an unconvinced scout prevented arguably the Premier League’s finest shop stopper from joining. Whilst at Sparta Prague in 2002, Arsenal made a move to sign the Czech keeper before his eventual move to French team Rennes. With his current track record and Arsenal’s goalkeeping indifferences, would Cech have been the difference maker in Arsenal’s current silverware famine?
Say what you want about the man, he is up there with the very best. Whilst he will forever be remembered as a legend at Old Trafford, Arsenal fans could just have easily seen his name and number circling the Emirates stadium. However due to the construction of the said stadium, Arsenal didn’t have the financial power to compete with the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and others who were swarming Ronaldo at the time. Even a tour of Highbury couldn’t persuade him to join, and the rest, as they say, is history.
In 2001 the Gremio youngster was lighting up Brazilian football with his dazzling trickery so common to us today. After breaking into the Brazilian national team, Arsenal came knocking but were again denied by a work permit. The Samba superstar was also close to joining St. Mirren on loan before settling to join Paris based giants PSG.
If you’ve only played 26 matches and are worth £15million then you know you’re good. Pato sealed a switch to Milan at the ripe old age of just 17, and whilst the season after that Pato appeared at the Emirates for the first time, he could have been a regular there. Arsenal were rumoured to be in the running to sign ‘Sandy the duck’ but Milan pulled out all the stops including a behind closed doors friendly match to secure the Brazilian’s signature. With the masses of strikers being linked with the Gunners this year, it could have been oh so different for them with Pato on board.
I’m sure many of you were thinking Drogba, Ibrahimovic, etc, but after looking at Arsenal’s defensive frailties this season it is disappointing that the Frenchman decided to join Milan instead. Mexes ticks every box that Wenger would have looked for in a player. He’s experienced, and has played at the highest level. He is a determined, no-nonsense defender who would have slotted perfectly alongside Vermaelen. Oh! He’s French, and was also available on a free transfer which fits perfectly into Wenger’s shrewd spending style.
For future reference
Arsenal should learn from these mistakes and when Wenger does decide to hang up his managerial boots, Arsenal should look no further than the exciting talent of FC Porto boss Andre Villa-Boas. At 33 years of age he has already led Porto to a domestic double whilst also reaching the final of the Europa League. He takes on the same sort of philosophy as Wenger and would be an ideal replacement for the Frenchman. However, with rumours surfacing of interest from Liverpool, Chelsea and Liverpool, Arsenal will have to hope the youngest manager in Portuguese football plies his trade their just a little longer.
WTTGT Writer: Matt Mace - Follow me