Football

Mark Schwarzer reveals he almost joined Arsenal in 2010

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Before Petr Cech's switch from Chelsea to Arsenal at the start of the 2015/16 campaign, many critics had pointed out that goalkeeper was the Gunners' weakest position.

Some even thought that a strong, experienced shot-stopper was the last piece of the puzzle Arsene Wenger required to mount a serious title challenge.

As it turns out, Arsenal appear to be little closer to ending their title drought since Cech's arrival.

But it has also been revealed that Wenger was actually keen to bring in a more reliable keeper with Premier League experience well before they pinched their current No.1 from Chelsea.

Even before 2010, Mark Schwarzer was well regarded as a safe pair of hands in the English top flight after making over 400 appearances for Middlesbrough and Fulham.

And in an appearance on The Fantasy Football Club, the Australian revealed he came close to moving to the Emirates before the 2010 World Cup.

Fulham's manager at the time, Roy Hodgson, had made Schwarzer aware of Wenger's interest and had given him his blessing for the proposed switch.

"Roy Hodgson rang me. It was about three days before the World Cup in South Africa, and he says to me 'Mark, the Arsenal have been on the phone. They're interested. Do you want to go?'," Schwarzer said.

"I went 'Definitely. I loved my time at Fulham. It's been brilliant and really great working under you. But yeah, it's an opportunity to play Champions League football and play for an unbelievable club.'

"So he says 'Yeah, we'll sort it out. We'll get another goalkeeper in. As long as we get enough money for you, we'll make it happen.'"

However, a few weeks after that conversation Hodgson was appointed at Liverpool and replaced at Craven Cottage by Mark Hughes.

At that point, the Gunners were reportedly still interested but Fulham's new boss was more reluctant to let Schwarzer leave.

He added: "So I waited until about two weeks before the start of the season when Mark Hughes was appointed.

"My very first conversation with Mark was knocking on his door, saying 'Gaffer, nice to meet you. As you know, Arsenal made an offer and I want to leave, could you please sell me?'

"That's how it kinda went. It dragged on and dragged on, and unfortunately it didn't eventuate."

Somewhat ironically, Schwarzer did eventually leave Fulham three years later but moved to Chelsea rather than Arsenal.

He also became the first player to win the title in back-to-back seasons with two different teams since Eric Cantona following Chelsea and Leicester's triumphs in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

But he didn't pick up a winners' medal on either occasion due to lack of appearances made during the campaign.

Topics:
Fulham
Chelsea
Transfer News
Mark Schwarzer
Football
Petr Cech
Arsenal

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