Arsene Wenger has revealed the only regret he ever faced during his long career at Arsenal as club manager.
The Frenchman, who ended his 22-year association with the Gunners last weekend, has claimed that Cristiano Ronaldo is the only player he most rejects not signing.
Ronaldo joined Manchester United from Sporting in 2003 in a deal worth just £12m. But Wenger admits that the Londoners had come close to signing Ronaldo before United came in.
Wenger believes that Ronaldo would have changed his history at Arsenal, as the club’s last Premier League title came in 2004.
“The obvious player [that we missed out on] that comes to mind is [Cristiano] Ronaldo,” Wenger told Arsenal.com.
“He was here with his mother and we were very close. Then Man United came in and they had Carlos Queiroz at the time, who was their coach. United played against Sporting Lisbon and Ronaldo was outstanding and they signed him.”
“You could imagine at the time what it would have been like to have Thierry Henry and Ronaldo together. Later Man United had Rooney, Ronaldo and Van Nistelrooy together, they had an exceptional football team, and Giggs and Scholes together. That would certainly have changed a little bit the history of my stay here as well.”
“There is always something you could have done differently. But the problem of negotiations is to know when you give in and when you don’t give in.”
“Once we were at £4.5 million, we were still in negotiations. David met with [Ronaldo’s agent Jorge] Mendes in Paris and he was representing Sporting, so we were very close. But Man United went to £12 million, which we could not afford at the time.”
Ronaldo helped United to win 9 trophies in six years including the Premier League three times and Champions League among a number of honours.
The Portuguese forward has also managed to win not less than 40 individual awards during his time at Old Trafford.