The Frenchman was on the brink of signing the Portuguese starlet back when he was a teenager, and he had even set aside a kit number for him, before the deal collapsed and Ronaldo ended up joining rivals-Manchester United instead.
Wenger says he still laments the failed deal, because not only did the North London club miss a good chance, Ferguson snatched Ronaldo from him. He said:
My biggest regret, I was so close to signing Cristiano Ronaldo [from Sporting Lisbon].
Not only did I not get him, he signed for Manchester United, so that of course still hurts today.
Wenger also admitted he would love to have managed Chelsea star Didier Drogba as the striker has been one of the biggest tormentors of the Gunners, having scored 15 goals in as many games against them. He added:
I missed him when he was playing in France and I knew he was a good player then. And he hurt us so much in big games, and so if he played for us it would not have happened.
The Arsenal boss surprisingly named right-back Lauren as his best-ever signing, even ahead other stars such as Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires, and Cesc Fabregas. He said:
I’d never say which player was the best, but I think it’s the signings like Lauren who you spot when nobody else does. He was a right midfielder who I played at right back and was one of the invincibles.
Lauren, similarly to Henry, was a player whose ability to convert to a new position significantly aided Arsenal’s effectiveness. Wenger is a fan of progressing players by adapting their game, an occurrence which is likely to repeat itself when he slowly moves Calum Chambers from defence to midfield.
This approach hasn’t always worked for the manager, however as currently being demonstrated with Mesut Ozil’s poor form, Wenger continues to push the traditional No. 10 out wide. While fans will consider what could have been with Ronaldo and reminisce about the good times of old, there’s plenty of work for both the manager and squad to bring back those glory days back.
Do you think Lauren is the best Wenger signing? Share your thoughts in the comments below.