Julian Draxler's rise to stardom condemns Arsenal's history of missing out on top players

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Julian Draxler’s stunning performance in Wolfsburg’s 3-2 Champions League victory over Manchester United last week might have made for difficult viewing for Arsenal fans.

The Germany international was linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium in January 2014, but a move failed to materialise.

Draxler is not the first player the club must rue failing to sign - and here are five other individuals Arsene Wenger must regret not signing during his tenure.


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Legend has it the great Ibrahimovic, fresh-faced and unproven, flatly rejected a move to Arsenal because ‘Zlatan doesn’t do auditions'.

It's a myth that has neither been debunked nor confirmed, but one thing for sure is Wenger was desperate to sign him many years ago.

Since then the Swede has established himself as one of the most prolific strikers in world football and won silverware in Italy, Spain and France.

Rumours continue to circulate that he could yet move to the Premier League, and if he signs for a rival then Wenger will rue his failure to sign him even more.


Ronaldo reportedly ‘fell in love’ with Arsenal, yet the Gunners were ultimately pipped to his signature by Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United.

The rest is history, with the then 18-year-old blossoming into one of the best players of all time, helping both United and Real Madrid to countless honours in the process.

In the mid-late noughties, when United and Arsenal would vie for the title, Ronaldo’s goals would often see Ferguson’s side pip Wenger’s men to the three points, with a majestic brace at the Emirates sending United through to the Champions League at their expense in 2009.

It must hurt Arsenal fans knowing if he had been on their team that day it would have been them facing Barcelona in the final in Rome.


Arsenal’s goalkeeping problems may have finally been solved by Petr Cech this summer, but they could have resolved them years ago if they had been successful in signing Reina.

The Gunners bid £20 million for the Spaniard in 2010, but Liverpool held firm with the 33-year-old widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the top flight at the time.

Wenger was also interested in luring him to the capital before Reina moved to Bayern Munich last summer, yet the prospect of joining the Bundesliga giants proved too tough to turn down.

Given the erratic form of Wojciech Szczesny and Manuel Almunia, his signing would have given them the solidarity they craved and possibly a few more trophies too.


Another player who the Gunners lost to United’s clutches, Pique was tickling the fancy of Wenger during his days in Barcelona’s famous La Masia academy.

A 15-year-old Pique travelled to north London to seal the deal, but legal complications scuppered any potential move.

Wenger then offered an agreement stating they would swoop for him the following year, but United came in and ultimately won the race for his signature.

At least the Gunners can take solace knowing he never really made his mark at Old Trafford, despite transforming into one of the best defenders in the world at Barcelona.


Whatever people may think of Toure, there can be no denying he ranks as one of the most unplayable midfielders in world football when on song.

The Manchester City star has helped the club win their first two Premier League titles, but could so easily have joined brother Kolo at Arsenal.

Many years ago, he played for the Gunners in a pre-season game at Barnet, but work permit issues and Wenger’s doubts over his ability meant he would not sign on a permanent basis.

Toure went on to play for the likes of Monaco and Barcelona and his power would have made him the perfect heir to Patrick Vieira.

Thierry Henry
Premier League

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