Arsene Wenger admits that he could have signed Cristiano Ronaldo to Arsenal if it had been ‘a few days faster’ … and that he also narrowly missed landing a teenage N’Golo Kante!
- Arsene Wenger was Arsenal’s manager when he tried to sign Cristiano Ronaldo
- Wenger admits the club needed to be ‘a fraction faster’ to beat Man Utd in 2003
- Speaking with Ian Wright, he revealed how a young N’Golo Kante got lost
Arsene Wenger claims that Arsenal could have signed Cristiano Ronaldo in 2003 if they were “just a fraction quicker” before Manchester United overtook them.
At the time, Ronaldo was a relatively unknown 17-year-old at Sporting Lisbon, while Wenger was in charge of an Arsenal team that, along with United, were the main rivals for the Premier League title.
Wenger’s 22 years with the Gunners before he left in 2018 were known for the club missing out on star players within its grasp, as he also failed to sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic early in his career after offering him only a trial and not a contract. .
Arsene Wenger recalled how he was about to sign Cristiano Ronaldo and N’Golo Kante
Wenger was overtaken by the Portuguese star by Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United
But Ronaldo might be the greatest of them all, and Wenger admitted they were only “a few days” away from completing a deal.
When asked by Ian Wright Sports bible On the players he regretted not signing, Wenger replied: ‘Certainly Cristiano Ronaldo.
“It was possible and if we had been a fraction faster, a few days, because we had agreed, and Man United arrived five, six days later.
‘That’s what I would say at the beginning of my career, Cristiano Ronaldo. And the end of my career, N’Golo Kante ‘.
Ferguson brought Ronaldo to Old Trafford in 2003 when he was a relatively unknown teenager.
Arsenal had tried to sign Kante from Leicester City in 2016 after he helped them to an astonishing Premier League title before retiring from the race.
But when asked by Wright if he was really close to signing the defensive midfielder, who is now the star of Chelsea, Wenger also remembers how he came close to landing the France star even before joining Leicester.
‘Easy. Because he played for a club in Paris.
That’s called Suresnes, where one of my best friends is a director and he said to me ‘Please, I have a player that we know is incredible. Nobody wants him in France. ‘
Wenger revealed how he failed to act when offered the opportunity to sign a teenager N’Golo Kante
He drove him in his car and traveled with him from club to club, and eventually a third division club in France took N’Golo Kante away.
‘It is an incredible story, N’Golo Kante; you could also make a movie with it.
‘It’s something you don’t find often. Win the ball without fouling. And immediately, move that ball forward.
Kante played a youth player at Suresnes between 1999 and 2010 before moving to Boulogne, where he made his senior debut.
From there, he signed for Caen in 2013, which is where the Foxes drafted the now 30-year-old for just £ 5.6 million two years later.