Atletico Madrid superstar Antoine Griezmann reveals how Arsenal kept him waiting in 2013 in his autobiography.
The French international has revealed that Arsenal was chasing him and that in-fact the Gunners were very close to a move to bring him from Real Sociedad. However, now after the transfer debacle in 2013, Antoine Griezmann has said that he has no interest in ever joining the Emirates Stadium side in the near future.
In his autobiography, Behind the Smile, the French striker claims that Arsenal and former Arsenal scout Gilles Grimandi has told both Griezmann and his agent to put aside any other offers. However, despite the serious interest from the Gunners, nothing ever materialized and on deadline day, Antoine Griezmann was informed that Arsenal would not be making an offer.
“I waited, I waited, and I kept waiting … when there was no news, Eric called Grimandi, who said that the manager was still interested in me [and] to keep waiting” Griezmann wrote. “Finally a few hours before the market closed, he let us know Arsenal would not make a move. I don’t like to be told something and for it not to happen.
“So when Eric told me later that the London club were interested again I told him: ‘Forget it, after the blow they gave us.”
During that particular transfer window back in 2013, the Gunners only brought in Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid for a then club record fee and also young French striker Yaya Sanogo. While Ozil has refused to sign a contract extension in recent months, Yaya Sanogo has been since released by the club. Meanwhile, fast-forward a year later, and Griezmann moved to Atletico and has since scored 90 goals in 176 appearances.
Arsene Wenger has been very critical of the club’s scouting system in April, saying “Because Griezmann, Kanté, we could have signed them, but we missed the opportunity to do so, not necessarily because of our financial restrictions but because we weren’t rapid enough.
That is something we must improve, to sign young players before they become stars because at that moment all the clubs know them and want to sign them.”
The Gunners struggled last season which saw them miss out on a Champions League place for the 2017/18 season. This has since lead to a series of changes, including appointing former Barcelona Director of Football Raul Sanllehi and Sven Mislintat as chief scout.
Signing Antoine Griezmann would have been a brilliant move by Arsenal especially given the fact that they lost their main striker Robin Van Persie in 2012. However, not signing him has suggested a lack of decisiveness from the club, something that they will take care of according to Ivan Gazidis after the Gunner’s failed to qualify for the Champions League last season.