Arsene Wenger revealed he was so close to buying Eden Hazard from Lille in 2012 that he even had the players agent at his house to wrap up a deal.
In true Arsenal style, we were gazumped at the last minute by Chelsea for an attacking midfielder in the second consecutive summer. The season prior the Gunners were certain to sign Juan Mata before the Blues flexed their financial muscle and snitched him under Wenger’s nose.
Arsenal were unable to compete with both exuberant wages and transfer fees offered to Hazard by Chelsea, naturally his agent took the player wherever he could claim the biggest pay cheque.
With a sour taste in his mouth, Wenger discussed his attempts to secure Hazard who he believes can emulate the likes of Messi and Ronaldo. He reportedly told BeIN Sports:
Yes, I wanted to take him, I had his agent at my home but again the barrier was financial and Chelsea made an effort that I couldn’t make.
He can be one of the players who grows into the Messi, Ronaldo stature if he continues to develop well.
Arsenal desperately needed a player of Hazard’s quality that summer, he could have become a massive player at Emirates but we failed to stump up the required cash and this is something we cannot afford to do again. Now that we have the ‘financial ability’ to compete with the likes of Chelsea and City, we need to land the Hazard-caliber players when the opportunity comes begging. That starts this summer with Julian Draxler who has the potential to become a real superstar.
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Wenger also discussed potential future destinations when the time comes to leave the Emirates, with Germany mooted as a potential destination rather than his returning to his homeland France.
The Gunners boss has yet to officially put pen to paper on a new deal with his current terms set to expire this summer, however he has confirmed he will be remaining in north London ahead of next season.
When the time does comes to step down the Frenchman insists he cannot work at another club in England, such is his loyalty to Arsenal, but could be tempted into a move to Bundesliga for a fresh challenge.
If I was to go somewhere then I think it would be in a different country because I am so much Arsenal that I would not like to coach anywhere else in England.
Germany (is an option) because I am of German culture a little bit and it’s a country where I have never worked and I am very close to it.