Arsenal: Ray Parlour's hilarious story explaining how Wenger signed Igor Stepanovs

Igor Stepanovs in action for Arsenal

Igor Stepanovs did not have the best career at Arsenal.

The Latvian was signed by Arsene Wenger while the club were in the middle of a defensive crisis.

He arrived in a £1.35 million deal from Skonto Riga in 2000.

But it was apparent that he wasn’t up to the standard required soon into his spell with The Gunners.

It turns out that Ray Parlour and Dennis Bergkamp had a huge role in the Latvian signing for the club.

Parlour appeared on talkSPORT earlier this week where he told a hilarious story of how Stepanovs completed his move to Arsenal.

You can watch it below:

He started: “We were on a pre-season tour and Martin Keown, you could wind him up big time.

“We had this trialist come in at centre-half. He was probably thinking ‘we don’t need another centre-half, I’m not going to play!’

“So me and Dennis Berkgamp had a wind up. We had £50 on it. I had the first half to try and wind up Keown while Bergkamp had the second half.

“So every pass Igor did, it could be five yards, I was clapping him and saying ‘what a player this guy is! Fantastic!’

“Half-time whistle goes and Martin hasn’t bitten yet.

Igor Stepanovs, Ray Parlour, Dennis Bergkamp and Martin Keown at Arsenal

“Second half and Igor hits this ball, I think he miss-kicked it. Went to one of our players 20 yards away and Bergkamp stood up and goes ‘what a player’ and starts clapping. ‘I’ve played against some great centre-halves and I wouldn’t want to play against this guy’.

“All of a sudden Martin says ‘He isn’t that good. He should have been pushing up, he’s dropping off too deep’. He bit, big time. So Bergkamp won the money.

“Two weeks later and Igor is sitting there. I never knew he was coming. Wenger’s probably been listening to Bergkamp going ‘what a player’ and he’s thought he’d buy him.

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“I said ‘what are you doing here?’

“He said ‘they’ve signed me to a four-year contract.’

“I was like ‘what?!’ He couldn’t believe his luck.”

Stepanovs would go on to make just 17 Premier League appearances for the club before departing for Grasshoppers in 2004.

He is considered by some to be one of the worst players in Arsenal’s Premier League history.

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