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Zlatan Ibrahimovic reveals truth on Arsenal snub

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Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has attempted to clear up any confusion over the circumstances which led to him turning down Arsenal back in 2001, but only ended up placing the blame for the snub firmly at Arsene Wenger's door.

Ibrahimovic has shared the story of being asked to prove his worth by Arsenal as a precocious youngster before, viewing Wenger's insistence on a trial as an insult and sealing a switch from Malmo to Ajax just 24 hours later.

The Swedish superstar has made that judgement call from Wenger look pretty foolish during a glittering decade as European football's most successful nomad, scoring 317 club goals while winning titles galore for the likes of Barcelona, Juventus and Inter Milan and Paris Saint-Germain.

Wenger has insisted that only a 'misunderstanding' prevented Ibrahimovic from becoming an Arsenal player, but in an interview with The Guardian the 33-year-old has claimed the insult of not being snapped up outright put paid to any chance of an agreement there and then.

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Zlatan to Arsenal never got close

The enigmatic forward said: “Today, Wenger says it was a misunderstanding. But I didn’t like being asked to prove myself.

“I know I’m good enough. I don’t need to show it to you. Either you know who I am or you don’t. I remember being in Wenger’s office and you could tell he was the boss.

"It was Wenger! But I don’t think I was so close [to signing]. I went to Ajax the next day."

Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho have both worked with the supremely talented talisman during a decade at the highest level, but quite surprisingly Zlatan has never played in the Premier League and now looks likely to spend the rest of his career with PSG.

"I am happy in Paris, he said. "I respect the Premier League. It’s one of the best in the world and no other league has this media interest. But I’m happy I’ve played in so many different leagues."

Wenger failing to land emerging talent is nothing new

Arsenal's loss was very much Ajax's gain and Ibrahimovic has proved a polarising self-confidence was justified, although a trophy-laden career has not been without bumps along the road.

Gunners fans are probably fed up of hearing about world-class stars they tried to sign before they made the big time, with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo also prominent figures on that list.

Wenger once had arguably the best scouting network in Europe and brought through a host of tremendous talents including Robin van Persie, Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira, although in recent years that reputation has definitely been damaged by a lack of first-team stars emerging through the Arsenal academy.

The Gunners have overhauled their youth setup during the close season in a bid to address the balance and still compete for starlets across the globe, but the failure to bring Ibrahimovic to North London must rank among the mistakes Wenger rues the most during nearly two decades in charge of the Gunners.

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Topics:
Arsenal
Premier League
Football

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