Add Dimitri Payet to the long list of brilliant footballers who Arsenal could have signed under Arsene Wenger but, for one reason or another, ultimately didn’t.
The French playmaker has just enjoyed a fantastic debut season with West Ham in the Premier League and is currently bossing it at Euro 2016 with his national team.
Payet has been the star of the European Championships so far and is the current favourite to win the tournament’s coveted ‘Best Player’ award following eye-catching performances against both Romania and Albania.
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Wenger, rather than sunning it up on a beach somewhere following another long season with Arsenal, is working as a pundit for BeIN Sport this summer.
And in a Twitter Q&A with Konbini, the veteran Gunners’ boss revealed why he decided against signing French football’s new hero.
Wenger: I doubted Payet's consistency
Asked if he’d ever considered signing Payet, who joined the Hammers from Marseille last summer, Wenger responded: “Yes. Often. Very often, I have to say that I asked myself that question during my career.
“And I also have to say that I decided against it because he was not consistent. I have never doubted that he had enough talent to play in my team.
“I have been lucky enough in my club to always have very good players in his position and it was crowded!”
Payet is currently in the form of his career
Wenger’s comments might raise a few eyebrows at the moment; Payet has been one of European football’s most consistent performers over the past 12 months.
However, Wenger - who knows French football inside out - will have closely followed Payet at Nantes, Saint-Etienne, Lille and Marseille and concluded that he wasn’t worth the risk.
Payet is currently in the best form of his career and even the player himself couldn’t have dreamt this time last year that he’d be in the position he is now.
His emotional reaction after scoring the winning goal in France’s Euro 2016 opener last week said it all.
“There was a lot of stress and a lot of pressure,” Payet was quoted as saying by the Guardian. “The emotion came out with that goal. If someone had told me beforehand that it would have gone like this, I would not have believed them.”
Did Arsene Wenger make a mistake not signing Dimitri Payet for Arsenal? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
(Konbini quotes translated by Express)