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Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has revealed that he still regrets Wenger’s refusal to sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic for Arsenal.
At 35, Ibrahimovic is still a force to reckon with and undoubtedly one of the best strikers in Europe.
Seventeen years ago, Arsenal were on the brink of landing the striker when he was 19 at the time but there was a disagreement between the player and manager because Wenger wanted him to undergo a trial before signing.
“He [Wenger] never actually made me a serious offer, it was more, ‘I want to see how good you are, what kind of player you are. Have a trial’, Ibrahimovic said about his failed move to Arsenal.
“I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘No way, Zlatan doesn’t do auditions’.
The ex Swedish international has gone on to enjoy a wonderful playing career, winning multiple titles across Europe’s major leagues. He joined Manchester United last summer and has become a key part of Mourinho’s side. Despite his age, he has scored 26 goals in just 38 appearances. He remains the only man above 35 to score more than 15 Premier League goals in a season and Keown is lamenting that Arsenal missed out on the striker.
“I regret that Zlatan Ibrahimovic never joined Arsenal,” he wrote in the Daily Mail, as quoted by The Daily Cannon.
“He visited the club in 2000 as a teenager and such was his physique and frame my team-mates joked that the Swede was coming to take my place at centre-back. Even then you could see Ibrahimovic had such a big presence. Now that he is thriving at Manchester United, the comparisons with Eric Cantona are inevitable.”
It’s difficult to argue against Keown when you see what the Swede has already achieved through his career so far. He has turned out for big clubs in Spain, Italy and France. This would definitely go down as one of Wenger’s biggest miss because he refused to sign the striker not once but twice.
After missing out on the striker in 2000, Arsenal were again linked with the big man last summer but apparently Wenger wasn’t convinced that he was the man for us but when you take a look at what he is doing with United and where they would be without him you can’t help but imagine where we would be had we signed him last summer.