Arsenal’s decision not to pursue Yann M’Vila… and five other Arsene Wenger transfer fiascos
Newspaper reports suggest Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has cooled his interest in French midfielder Yann M’Vila because he feels his squad is already adequately prepared in that department.
Despite rumours claiming Jack Wilshere may not play again until October, Wenger believes that signing M’Vila would have an adverse effect on the potential of the injury-prone Abou Diaby.
He even claimed that Diaby would walk into the France national team if fully fit. That may not be quite true, and Diaby’s fitness record suggests him staying off of the treatment table long enough to make an international squad – let alone starting eleven – would be a challenge in itself.
But this is not the first time Arsenal’s manager has overlooked a potential signing, citing how another player in his squad would suffer as a consequence as the reason for not opening the club’s chequebook…
1. Jose Enrique
Last summer Gael Clichy’s £7m move to Manchester City left a gaping hole in Arsenal’s squad at left-back. Wenger felt that moving for Newcastle’s Jose Enrique would put the blockers on young Kieran Gibbs’ development, so he opted for Andre Santos instead. While Santos has looked OK when called upon, Enrique would have been an upgrade, and Gibbs spent a large part of the season injured anyway.
2. Xabi Alonso
Arsenal were set to capitalise on the Xabi Alonso/Gareth Barry/Rafael Benitez debacle at Liverpool in 2008, with Wenger putting a bid in for the Spaniard. However as Alonso was travelling down to London, Liverpool insisted for more money and Wenger called off the deal, stating that publicly that he didn’t want to ‘kill’ Denilson. Arsenal fans are now likely to suggest that wouldn’t have been the worst thing, as the Brazilian has just spent the last season back in his homeland on loan.
3. Yaya Toure
Yaya Toure – the man driving the Man City revolution from midfield last season – could well have ended up playing in the red of Arsenal instead if things had been different. While at the Gunners’ feeder club Beveren, Yaya trialled at Arsenal after a recommendation from brother Kolo, who was playing for the club at the time. But no permanent deal was done. Yaya played in a friendly game against Barnet, but Wenger decided he had enough midfield options in his squad and let the Ivorian move onto Olympiakos. A big mistake in hindsight.
4. Juan Mata
Another transfer Arsenal could have secured last summer was that of European Championship winner Juan Mata. A clause in his Valencia contract allowed Arsenal to agree in principle a deal of around £21m, but the club dithered on finalising the signing because of the situations with Cesc Fabreags and Samir Nasri, and Chelsea eventually swooped in.
5. Zlatan Ibrahimovic
PSG’s most recent signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic could have been an Arsenal player, and picture evidence suggests he would have suited the club’s colours too. However, when the big Swede was available for transfer from Malmo, Wenger wanted him to come on trial first. Ibrahimovic said he didn’t do trials, negotiations broke down and he joined Ajax instead.