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Arsene Wenger’s near misses as Arsenal boss after Jadon Sancho has become the latest star he hasn’t signed

Jadon Sancho is just the last name added to Arsene Wenger’s long list of near misses while managing Arsenal.

Over time, and after the end of his remarkable 22 years in North London, Wenger has provided a fascinating insight into the players he almost drew but just missed.

Here, Sports email look at what the Gunners could have been … and there are some big names on the list.

Arsene Wenger has revealed a lot in the past about his near misses as an Arsenal manager

Arsene Wenger has revealed a lot in the past about his near misses as an Arsenal manager

GIANLUIGI BUFFON

With Wenger on the hunt for a long-term replacement for David Seaman, the Frenchman enjoyed a meal with legendary Italian goalkeeper Buffon while still playing for Parma.

Juventus came in quickly for Buffon, however, earning £ 32.6 million in 2001. He would win notable nine Serie A titles for the club and four Coppa Italia crowns, while lifting the World Cup with Italy in 2006.

Arsenal wanted to draw Gianluigi Buffon as a long-term replacement for David Seaman

Arsenal wanted to draw Gianluigi Buffon as a long-term replacement for David Seaman

Arsenal wanted to draw Gianluigi Buffon as a long-term replacement for David Seaman

GERARD PIQUE

Arsenal had signed Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona in the summer of 2013 and he would become captain. However, their company could have been even better if they had also praised Pique.

The Spanish central defender eventually joined Manchester United a year later and spent four years there before returning to boys’ club Barcelona.

Wenger could not take the Spanish central defender Gerard Pique away from boys club Barcelona

Wenger could not take the Spanish central defender Gerard Pique away from boys club Barcelona

Wenger could not take the Spanish central defender Gerard Pique away from boys club Barcelona

VINCENT KOMPANY

Kompany, who was regarded as one of the top candidates in the rear, was identified as a potential replacement for Sol Campbell, but Wenger was beaten by Hamburg to his signature before playing for and captaining Manchester City.

The Belgian defender’s agent confirmed Arsenal’s interest when he discussed Kompany’s candidates before announcing himself on the world stage.

In 2014 Jacques Lichtenstein revealed: ‘I had meetings with Emilio Butragueno at Real Madrid, the club leaders in Barcelona and by Arsene Wenger himself at Arsenal. But going to an absolute top club right away was not the right solution, because Vincent is someone who feels alone in an environment where he is not well appreciated. Vincent is not a third or fourth choice. ‘

Vincent Kompany became a legend for Manchester City after coming from Hamburg

Vincent Kompany became a legend for Manchester City after coming from Hamburg

Vincent Kompany became a legend for Manchester City after coming from Hamburg

RAPHAEL VARANE

The Gunners could have used the services of one of the most formidable defenders in world football if they had acted faster when Varane played for French club Lens.

Madrid eventually got their man in 2011 and he hasn’t looked back since, winning 279 games for the Spanish giants and 58 caps for France.

In 2013, Wenger said, “I’m happy for him because he’s part of one of the world’s best clubs, which is remarkable. But at the same time, when you are in charge of a club like Arsenal, you have to wonder why this player is not playing for us. He was in Lens and we probably could have caught him there. ‘

Raphael Varane was another star name the long-serving Arsenal boss missed

Raphael Varane was another star name the long-serving Arsenal boss missed

Raphael Varane was another star name the long-serving Arsenal boss missed

YAYA TOURE

Toure, who would have been the perfect substitute for Patrick Vieira, played in a friendly game for the club against Barnet, but bureaucracy denied Arsenal to sign him permanently and he would eventually join the Ukrainian party Metalurh Donetsk.

Seven years later, he embarked on his journey to become a City legend, winning three Premier League titles along the way.

“It would be at the top [of my list of regrets], “Wenger complained when he remembered the passport problems that prevented Toure from joining the Gunners. “He had an agreement with us – and not because we didn’t want to sign him, he went to Ukraine.”

City legend Yaya Toure played for Arsenal in a friendly game against Barnet in 2003

City legend Yaya Toure played for Arsenal in a friendly game against Barnet in 2003

City legend Yaya Toure played for Arsenal in a friendly game against Barnet in 2003

PAUL POGBA

Arsenal could have acquired the services of French World Cup winner Pogba in 2012 when he was about to leave United. However, they were too slow out of the blocks and tapped again by Juventus.

When opening the frustrating chase, Wenger said, “It went very fast. We were interested in him. We tried to get him to come here. But he signed for Juventus very quickly. ‘

Wenger was interested in drawing fellow countryman Paul Pogba before Juventus made fun of him

Wenger was interested in drawing fellow countryman Paul Pogba before Juventus made fun of him

Wenger was interested in drawing fellow countryman Paul Pogba before Juventus made fun of him

N’GOLO KANTE

Having played an instrumental role in Leicester’s incredible title-winning campaign during the 2015-16 season, Wenger turned his eyes on Kante to fill a much-needed void just before the defense.

And Wenger claimed in February 2017 that he had in fact made two attempts to contract the ever-reliable midfielder, once while he was an unknown figure in Caen, before Leicester and then Chelsea got his hands.

“I tried to sign Kante when he was in France and when he was in Leicester,” Wenger said. “We can’t explain everything – transfers are transfers – but it’s pretty clear when you look at where he went. I think Kante has had a huge impact. It is no coincidence that Chelsea is where they are and Leicester did what they did. ‘

Wenger tried to use the services of midfielder N'Golo Kante on two separate occasions

Wenger tried to use the services of midfielder N'Golo Kante on two separate occasions

Wenger tried to use the services of midfielder N’Golo Kante on two separate occasions

RONALDINHO

Arsenal had signed a deal in 2001 to contract Ronaldinho while practicing his profession for Gremio. But when it was nearing completion, work permit issues caused the transfer to be delayed, causing Wenger to complain about the near miss.

“We could have got Ronaldinho before he went to PSG,” Wenger revealed. “I met his brother, who is his agent, long before he went to PSG – when he was twenty – but we just couldn’t get him to England because of the rules here.”

The Frenchman wanted to bring Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho (left) to the club in 2001

The Frenchman wanted to bring Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho (left) to the club in 2001

The Frenchman wanted to bring Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho (left) to the club in 2001

DIDIER DROGBA

This would continue to haunt Arsenal as Drogba liked to score against Wenger’s side – scoring 13 times in just 15 games for London’s rivals Chelsea. While the striker played for Le Mans, he was firmly on the Frenchman’s radar.

“I missed him when he played at Le Mans in France – not even in the top tier,” Wenger admitted. “I knew he was a good player there and I missed him. And second, because he hurt us so much in big games that all this pain wouldn’t have happened. ‘

Didier Drogba would pursue Arsenal's defense for London rivals Chelsea for years

Didier Drogba would pursue Arsenal's defense for London rivals Chelsea for years

Didier Drogba would pursue Arsenal’s defense for London rivals Chelsea for years

ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC

Ibrahimovic’s extreme confidence denied Wenger signing him as a teenager. The pair were discussing a possible move, but things didn’t go quite as planned, as he was only offered a trial at Arsenal. But as we all know, he would never record that.

Arsene gave me the famous red-and-white sweater – the No. 9 shirt with Ibrahimovic on it and I was so glad I even posed for a photo wearing it. It was a great moment for me. So I waited until he convinced me to join Arsenal.

“But he didn’t even try. He never really made me a serious offer, it was more like “I want to see how good you are, what kind of player you are. Try it out”. I could not believe it. I was like, “No way, Zlatan doesn’t audition.” ‘

Zlatan Irahimovic did a photo shoot in an Arsenal shirt, but failed to push the switch

Zlatan Irahimovic did a photo shoot in an Arsenal shirt, but failed to push the switch

The striker was not happy that he was asked to run a trial to win a deal

The striker was not happy that he was asked to run a trial to win a deal

Zlatan Irahimovic did a photo shoot in an Arsenal shirt, but failed to push the switch

LIONEL MESSI

The big names just keep on coming and this time it’s five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi who missed Wenger.

Arsenal’s former long-term manager attempted to seal the movements of three players at the Barcelona academy in 2003, but unfortunately he couldn’t seduce the young Argentinian to leave the Catalan giants.

Wenger said in 2014, “I don’t think he was so keen on moving in the end. It wasn’t entirely a flat in the end, it was thanks to Messi feeling comfortable in Barcelona. ‘

Wenger wanted to take Lionel Messi out of the Barcelona academy, but he didn't want to leave

Wenger wanted to take Lionel Messi out of the Barcelona academy, but he didn't want to leave

Wenger wanted to take Lionel Messi out of the Barcelona academy, but he didn’t want to leave

CRISTIANO RONALDO

Wenger has previously admitted that it was his biggest regret that he didn’t get a deal for Ronaldo over the line before winning everything for United, Real Madrid and Juventus.

“I showed him around and gave him a shirt. It was written on the back, “Wenger said in 2008.” But in the end it was about the transfer fee between the two clubs. ‘

Alex Ferguson and Manchester United pushed harder for his signature and were rewarded by stealing the Portuguese star under the nose of Arsenal, despite already showing him on their training ground.

Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo won it all after being stolen under Arsenal's nose

Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo won it all after being stolen under Arsenal's nose

Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo won it all after being stolen under Arsenal’s nose

LUIS SUAREZ

Arsenal’s £ 40,000,001 bid back in the summer of 2013, made in the belief that his Liverpool release clause would be triggered, is arguably the most well-known offer in football in recent times.

And it immediately closed with Reds owner John W Henry who tweeted, “What do you think they smoke there in the Emirates?”

Wenger has since considered the transfer saga after moving to Barcelona and said: ‘We had an agreement with the player and we were wrongly informed that he had a clause (in his contract). You can ask the player. He will confirm that he wanted to participate. After that they held him for another year, improved his contract and promised to sell him to a foreign club. ‘

Luis Suarez eventually came from Liverpool to Barcelona after Arsenal offered £ 40,000,001

Luis Suarez eventually came from Liverpool to Barcelona after Arsenal offered £ 40,000,001

Luis Suarez eventually came from Liverpool to Barcelona after Arsenal offered £ 40,000,001

KYLIAN MBAPPE

The soon-to-be-most-important man in football was also once on Wenger’s radar, with Mbappe confirming that his countryman wanted to sign him in 2017 while still playing for Monaco.

However, the French World Cup winner had never set his sights on moving to the Emirates and eventually moved to Paris Saint-Germain before sealing a permanent transfer a season later.

“We were in touch in 2017,” said Mbappé. “I chose a different path and he didn’t stop me. He was a gentleman and wished me good luck. ‘

Kylian Mbappé revealed that Wenger wanted to contract him from Monaco in 2017

Kylian Mbappé revealed that Wenger wanted to contract him from Monaco in 2017

Kylian Mbappé revealed that Wenger wanted to contract him from Monaco in 2017

JADON SANCHO

England’s rising star has become the last player to spark interest in the Emirates outfit in the past. Wenger has revealed that he was trying to take Sancho to Arsenal when he played in City’s youth teams.

However, after spending two years in the youth lineup at City, the 19-year-old ended up with the Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund, where he became one of the most exciting youngsters in world football.

Wenger said, “I wanted to get him out of Man City when he didn’t get the games. I tried to lure him because he’s from London. I tried to get him to do this. He is one of the best players of his generation. He can dribble, he has the arrogance. ‘

Jadon Sancho caught Wenger's interest when he played for City's academy

Jadon Sancho caught Wenger's interest when he played for City's academy

Jadon Sancho caught Wenger’s interest when he played for City’s academy

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