Galatasaray midfielder Jose Rodriguez has revealed he almost joined Arsenal from Real Madrid four years ago, before a last minute change of heart saw him remain at the Santiago Bernabeu.
At the time the Gunners were keen to take the now-20-year-old to north London, having been impressed by him whilst watching him play for Real’s academy side when he was just 16.
Now, as relayed by the Daily Star, the young Spaniard has confirmed that he was very close to signing for Arsene Wenger’s men, but decided against it in a bid to try and make it with Los Blancos.
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"I was in London, just about to sign with Arsenal," Rodriguez said.
"But then, Real Madrid put faith in me, and I think things haven't gone bad for me since then.
"I made my debut with the first team, and I'm the youngest player in the Champions League [whose played for Real Madrid]"
As is so often the cause with prodigal youngsters in Madrid the task of breaking into the starting XI ultimately proved too much. He left for Turkey this summer having made just four appearances for Real’s first-team, but believes he might well have made it in Wenger’s fold had he pressed on with the move.
"The past is past. Maybe if I had chosen Arsenal, now I'd be playing there... or maybe not," he continued.
"I never thought about leaving Real Madrid until right now, because I was always happy. Now they haven't put their faith in me, and that's okay. They kept a re-buy option, and there's hope."
Naturally those who follow Arsenal might be inclined to believe Rodriguez given Wenger’s previous aptitude when it comes to signing and nurturing young talent.
Echoes of another
Fans will no doubt cast their minds back to Francesc Fabregas’ arrival and subsequent development as an obvious example of a Spanish youngster who was taken by Wenger early on and became an important first-team player.
Rodriguez might not yet have shown he can be nearly as good as the former Gunners captain, though he could well be added to Wenger’s list of regretful near buys in the future.
Arsenal fans, who do you think Wenger most regrets not having bought? Let us know in the comments box below.