Dick Law stated in the interview how the club desperately wanted to sign the Belgian.
Arsene Wenger and failed targets is a better love story than twilight. The legendary French boss has a history of missing out on wonder-kids. From Cristiano Ronaldo to Lionel Messi, Arsene Wenger and Arsenal missed the chances to sign these gems.
The likes of Zlatan, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe all could have worn Arsenal shirt if Arsene Wenger wasn’t that frugal. Dick Law, former Arsenal fixer reveals the latest star which was a target for the Gunners.
Roman Abramovich changed the financial landscape of English football following his arrival at Chelsea in 2003, Arsenal found themselves falling off the pace in the Premier League.
While their rivals were spending millions to bring in some of the world’s best players, Arsenal was looking more and more to youth and relying on Wenger’s ability to find a bargain in the transfer market.
It was a hugely frustrating time for the club’s fans, who were paying vast amounts of money for their season tickets.
They were told prior to the move to the Emirates that leaving Highbury would allow them to continue to compete, but instead, they saw their team falling further adrift – both domestically and in Europe.
Arsenal’s frugality in the transfer market during the period between 2006 and 2013 came at a time when the club would regularly post record profits, largely thanks to player sales, increased gate revenue and the ever-increasing TV revenue that was coming into English football.
Frustrated fans were left asking where all the money was going, with many questioning why it wasn’t being spent on strengthening the squad.
Law admits Arsenal did have the capability to spend more to bring in potential targets during that period, but the risk factor involved held them back.
“We had the financial muscle, but the risk reward calculation wasn’t clear,” he said. “Spending a lot of money on a player that didn’t work out would have really put the club in some financial straits.
“Did we miss out on talents? Certainly. I remember sitting in meetings with Steve, Ivan and Arsene and gnashing our teeth over Thibaut Courtois. We knew he was good.
“Eden Hazard as well, we wanted to do that deal. But there was a sense of responsibility and running the club prudently, all the time knowing that every £1 we spent we had to act as if it was our money. It was very, very difficult.”
That same period also saw Arsenal sell their best players on a regular basis.
Thierry Henry went to Barcelona, Cesc Fabregas followed him before Emmanuel Adebayor and Samir Nasri moved to Manchester City.
It’s true, Arsenal were on a tight budget but the fact that they missed out on signing Hazard and Thibaut Courtois would further frustrate fans. Arsenal fans would be hoping the tradition of missing out on players ends under Unai Emery.