Nikola Zigic has sensationally confirmed that Arsenal did approach him during the final days of the transfer window, and that he wanted to move to the Emirates Stadium before Arsene Wenger pulled the plug on the deal.
In an exclusive interview with the International Business Times UK, the former Birmingham City striker revealed that a shock switch to north London had been on the cards for him, until the Gunners boss opted instead to sign England international Danny Welbeck from Premier League rivals Manchester United in a £16 million deal.
After an injury to Olivier Giroud during the recent 2-2 draw with Everton at Goodison Park left Arsenal worryingly short on central striker options, reports emerged last week that Wenger was considering a surprise offer to the 33-year-old free agent, who left the Championship club at the end of last season.
Zigic's agent Milan Calasan fuelled speculation of a possible move further, when he claimed he had already held talks with the Arsenal manager to discuss the availability of his client.
Few actually believed the accuracy of those comments, which were perceived as an attempt to get the player more coverage with the transfer deadline looming. But, the Serbian striker has backed up his representative's statement after confirming the Arsenal rumours were indeed true.
Nikola Zigic quotes:
"Everything that you saw in the press was true," Zigic enthused. "My agent was talking with Arsenal but they finally opted for another player [Danny Welbeck].
"We talked with them until the last days of the market. I am very happy because Arsenal had me on their list.
"I would have like it [to join them]. But big teams always consider several alternatives [before signing one]."
Arsenal fans will be shocked to hear just how close they came to signing the Championship reject, and will perhaps now value the acquisition of former Red Devils star Welbeck a little more highly.
Zigic would've represented a significant step down on the calibre of players previously being linked with the club, with the likes of Radamel Falcao, Alessio Cerci and Carlos Bacca all believed to be on Arsenal's radar this summer.
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However, in true Wenger fashion the Gunners left it to the last minute, and almost ended up making a laughing-stock of a signing, that undoubtedly wouldn't have gone down well with supporters of the north London club hoping for another marquee addition to rival Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.
Looking to the future
Still, Zigic remains open minded about what the future might hold for him, and explained that he has a number of other options on the table with a decision set to be made shortly.
"I do not rule anything in the future," he added. "I am still looking [at] options. We're talking to several clubs and I think we will make a decision soon."
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