Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has revealed how he tried to sign Paul Pogba when he left Manchester United.
The French midfielder is rated as one of the best in Europe and the Gunners could have snapped him up for nothing, however he chose Juventus instead. Pogba is just one of a handful of players that Arsenal have missed out on over the years.
Yaya Toure and Zlatan Ibrahimovic had trials with the Gunners while Wenger was close to landing Cristiano Ronaldo before Manchester United got in the way. It was recently claimed that Arsenal made an audacious swoop for Barcelona trio Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique while they were still in the youth team.
"We were interested by Pogba when he was at Manchester [United]" said Wenger. "I was surprised to see Manchester let him go. We did not have the right to contact him."
He added: "It was complicated".
Arsenal face new rivals for top midfield target
Arsenal have been after a defensive midfielder for an eternity. One man near the top of Wenger’s hitlist is said to be Lars Bender of Bayer Leverkusen - however reports in Spain say they now face competition from none other than Barcelona.
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Also on Arsenal's defensive midfielder hitlist is said to be Sami Khedira, although he insists he is happy to remain with Real Madrid despite his contract running down. Morgan Schneiderlin may be difficult to prise away from Southampton while William Carvalho of Sporting Lisbon may be too expensive.
If Barcelona do go for Bender, Arsenal will have to identify yet another target.
Strike duo expected to stay put
From one potential arrival to two who could be on their way out and Joel Campbell has denied he is seeking to leave the club. The striker hasn’t been in Wenger’s plans so far this season but says he’s not willing to quit just yet.
'What they have been saying is not true, I'm very calm. I have not been furious,' the 22-year-old said on www.sports.bycampbell.com. 'Obviously, yes, I would like to be playing, but that's something that has to be earned day by day. I have to keep training and waiting for the opportunity, I know it's a very competitive team.
Lukas Podolski also looks set to stay at the club bespoke his unhappiness at being a regular on the subs bench, but Wenger insists he’s not for sale. The German international has been linked with a move back to Germany.
Wenger said: “It is not established at all that he will leave at Christmas. It is me who sets the price and [the reported deal] doesn’t correspond at all to his price. He is not for sale and there is no offer.
“Podolski plays a position where there is a big competition. He came very late from his holidays [after the World Cup in the summer], so he started after his team-mates and was not good physically.”