Arsenal and Arsene Wenger are said to have frequently come close to ‘almost’ and ‘nearly’ signing global stars in world football at an age no one knew of them.
The Arsenal-could-have-signed story is now well known, with Arsene Wenger himself admitting that he and the club did come close to signing a young Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as offering a trial to Zlatan Ibrahimovic which the Swede refused, reportedly more out of arrogance than interest in the club.
It seems now that there might just be one more player to join the ‘could have been at Arsenal’ brigade. West Ham and French international Dimitri Payet was ‘considered’ by Arsene Wenger, who reportedly ‘decided against’ signing the attacker due to his inconsistency at the time, reports Charlie Philippe for ‘The Express’.
The Express’s report claims that in an interview with French sports channel Konbini Arsene Wenger admitted to having ‘considered’ the player. On Payet, when asked about his interest and thoughts on bringing the player to North London, Wenger was quoted saying:
‘Yes. Often. Very often. I have to say I asked myself that question during my career.’
‘And I also have to say that I decided against it because he was not consistent. I never doubted that he had talent to play in my team.’
‘I have been lucky enough in my club to always have good players in his position and it was crowded!’
Payet, the 29-year-old french midfielder, and the most sort after late bloomer in world football has taken the Euros by storm having already scored two goals for his national side, one of them being an absolute screamer in the closing minutes against Romania in the opening game of the tournament.
The Frenchman is currently contracted to West Ham United in the premier league , but it won’t come off as a surprise if some of Europe’s biggest clubs would be interested in getting him on board. It is almost certain that the likes of PSG, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are likely to swarm around the player in the summer transfer window
The incoming news that Payet was once on Wenger’s radar is likely to not go down well with the fans, considering that they have heard this again and again.
Whether or not Payet would have fit into Arsenal’s first team at the time Wenger was interested in him cannot be known for sure, just the way no one could have guessed that Francis Coquelin would become Arsenal’s first-choice holding midfielder, leading the premier league table for most interceptions.
Payet’s talent and skill as seen in his first campaign in the premier league and most recently in the Euros are only indicative of the fact that he might just be one of the best footballers in the world at the moment.