Arsene Wenger can never make up his mind..

Arsene Wenger's five biggest transfer failures at Arsenal

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Leicester's stunning title triumph is about to be consigned to the history books. The new Premier League season is little under three weeks away and it promises to be one of the most hotly contested ever.

Jose Mourinho, Antonio Conte and Pep Guardiola have all arrived on English shores and have all been busy transforming their squads in the transfer market. Similarly, Jurgen Klopp is enjoying his first summer as Liverpool manager, using it to bring in no fewer than six players and counting.

Not for the first time, Arsenal have taken a back seat in the transfer window. Just as he did with Petr Cech last summer, Arsene Wenger got a key bit of business done very early, signing Granit Xhaka from Borussia Monchengladbach in a deal worth a reported £30million. But, just like last summer, not much has happened since then.


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Rob Holding has joined from Bolton and Takuma Asano from Sanfrecce Hiroshima but both are widely considered to be hot prospects with the latter likely to face years on loan before earning the required work permit.

Arsenal fans are starting to grow fearful that Wenger will keep his chequebook in his pocket but they should not be surprised. The frugal Frenchman is following a similar path to the one he has taken in the last five years. Always coming close to a big deal only to fall short.

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We have looked back at the last five seasons and pinpointed five big deals that Arsenal appeared very interested in completing, only to miss out for a variety of reasons.

2012 - Eden Hazard

One of the world's hottest prospects at the time, a number of clubs were in for the Lille teenager. By the time he moved to Chelsea, Arsenal had fallen well out of the race but Wenger had been aware of Hazard long before the Blues came calling.

Wenger later confirmed his interest in an interview with the Telegraph, saying: “He has been voted best player of the French league two consecutive years. You need some quality to do that at his age. I’m not surprised at all that he goes to Chelsea, and straight away is one of their stars because everybody knew about him.

“The transfer price was fixed, because he had a clause, so everybody was at the same level.

"Let’s not forget that all the big budgets in England were after him. We are not scared to spend the money, but we feel that even if we spend our money, with some clubs we can’t compete on certain players.”

But after rising to become one of the best players in world football, we can only assume Wenger is regretting his decision not to break his strict wage structure to bring Hazard to the Emirates.

Lille's French midfielder Eden Hazard ce

2013 - Luis Suarez

Wenger showed more assertiveness than ever before when he put a £40m plus £1 bid in for Suarez, then of Liverpool. It was supposed to be enough to trigger a release clause but all it did was ensure a deal would never get done.

Arsenal's information on Suarez's contract was wrong and the addition of a single pound annoyed Liverpool enough to completely close off any chance of a transfer. Even to this day, relations between the two clubs are frosty.

Had Arsenal bid something reasonable, such as £41m or £42m, it may have been enough to at least start the conversation. In hindsight, even £60m would have been a worthy price to pay for the Uruguayan, who is now starring for Barcelona. However, Wenger wanted to save every penny he could and another world-class striker slipped from his grasp forever.

Chelsea v Liverpool - Premier League

2014 - Julian Draxler

Admittedly, this transfer saga occurred in the January transfer window rather than the summer but so prevalent was the German's name in the media at the time, we could not miss it out.

Arsenal were believed to be very interested in the then 20-year-old but baulked at Schalke's £36million asking price. Talks between the two clubs appeared to go on throughout the month but an agreement was never reached.

Draxler has since moved to Wolfsburg where he has continued to rise in reputation. He was one of the stars of Germany's Euro 2016 campaign and looks set for a career at the top. Arsenal are still being linked with Draxler to this day but they will have to pay much more than that original £36m asking price now.


2015 - Morgan Schneiderlin

Ahead of last summer's transfer window, Schneiderlin's move from Southampton to Arsenal appeared to be a foregone conclusion. The Saints had set the price at £25m, which was deemed reasonable for one of the Premier League's most consistent midfielders.

However, the emergence of Francis Coquelin left Wenger with a big decision to make. Apparently, coaches were split as to whether Schneiderlin was actually needed. Obviously, Wenger decided he wasn't and Manchester United swooped in.

His debut season at Old Trafford was far from ideal and Coquelin has since proved to be an adept player. To add to that, Mohamed Elneny has also joined while Xhaka looks to be an upgrade on the France international.

For once, a wise choice from Wenger.

Southampton v Ipswich Town - FA Cup Third Round

2016 - Riyad Mahrez

Of course, Mahrez could still sign from Leicester City. Reports appear to suggest that the Algerian is interested in a move to the Gunners but the Foxes want somewhere in the region of £40m for his signature.

It is exactly the kind of deal that Wenger has baulked at in summers gone by but he must learn from his mistakes and put the required money forward. No other club appears to be interested in the PFA Player of the Year award and the price is much lower than for previous winners of that award (Bale and Suarez). Arsenal have a free run and the money required to take advantage.

With Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain faltering on the right-wing, the addition of a potentially world-class player in Mahrez seems clear. But nothing is ever easy when Wenger is making the call.


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Theo Walcott
Luis Suarez
Premier League
Eden Hazard
Arsene Wenger

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