Arsene Wenger's list of players he almost brought to Arsenal is as famous as it is impressive. With every new name added to the list, it only becomes more and more unbelievable.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi are probably the three biggest stars in world football today and each of them came within a whisker of joining the Gunners at one point or another.
But Wenger's close calls in the transfer market no long extends to the world's best players, it now includes one of the world's best manager.
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Pep Guardiola will take on the Arsenal manager when he leads Bayern Munich out in front of a packed Allianz Arena crowd. But had Wenger accepted Guardiola's proposal 14 years ago, the benches could have looked very different.
According to the Frenchman, Guardiola was keen to move to north London to undergo the process of becoming a coach under his stewardship whilst also finishing up his playing career.
Move to Highbury
But with the up and coming Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit already in the squad, Wenger could not justify bringing the veteran Barcelona midfielder to Highbury.
"He wanted to play with me as a coach," Wenger told reporters. "He wanted to play for Arsenal. I met him, he was 30-31 back then.
"I can't really remember, after that he went to Italy and I had players like (Patrick) Vieira and (Emmanuel) Petit who were still young and played for the national team as well."
The trodden path
Guardiola would go on to play for Serie A outfits Brescia and AS Roma before finishing his playing career with whistle-stop tours of Qatari side Al-Ahli and Mexican outfit Dorados. It would not be until 2007 that Guardiola would return to Barcelona to manage their B side.
He would only spend a year at that level, replacing Frank Rijkaard as first team coach in 2008. The rest, as they say, is history.
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