Arsene Wenger reveals the reason Arsenal gave up pursuit of Gareth Barry in 2009

West Bromwich Albion v West Ham United - Premier League

A few weeks ago, Paul Merson got some stick on social media for surprisingly claiming Arsenal should have tried to sign Gareth Barry in the summer.

"A great signing [for West Brom]. Why didn't Arsenal take him for a year?" he told Sky Sports.

"He gets the ball, he moves it forward quickly, he doesn't mess about. He gets the ball, he gives it the Ozil, he gives it to Sanchez."

Given Barry is now 36-years-old, it would have certainly gone down as one of Arsene Wenger's strangest signings at the Emirates.

As Merse said, Barry is now turning out for West Brom and is set to break Ryan Giggs' Premier League appearance record when the Baggies face Arsenal on Monday night.

And in the build-up to the clash, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger dropped a bombshell by revealing he did want Barry to become an Arsenal player - in 2009.

Eight years ago, the former England international was arguably approaching his prime and had outgrown Aston Villa.

Despite registering his interest in the central midfielder, though, Wenger soon gave up his pursuit once Manchester City joined the race for Barry's signature.

Manchester City v Aston Villa - Premier League

"We were interested in him, yes, when he moved from Villa to City, but at the time City were the big investor, their finance was superior to ours," Wenger said, as per The Mirror.

So Barry can be added to the evergrowing list of players Wenger 'almost' signed for Arsenal then.

Having already played 365 times in the Premier League for Villa, Barry went on to make a further 132 appearances at City before going on to join Everton and current club West Brom.

West Bromwich Albion v West Ham United - Premier League

The Frenchman continued to praise the soon-to-be Premier League record holder and labelled Barry's longevity as 'outstanding'.

Wenger added: "It's an outstanding achievement. He’s intelligent, determined, strong in the challenge.

"Good technically, I rated him highly. He was unlucky being in the period of (Steven) Gerrard and (Frank) Lampard.

"It’s an exceptional achievement."

News Now - Sport News