Arsene Wenger has shed some light on the mistake which led to Manchester United beating Arsenal to the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo, who has claimed the Ballon d’Or on five occasions, established himself as one of the greatest players in the world at Manchester United after leaving Sporting Lisbon.
However, it appears his emergence to stardom could have been if the Gunners were quicker to negotiate a deal.
As reported by the Metro, when asked who the biggest player Arsenal missed out on, Wenger replied: ‘The first very obvious one that comes to my mind is Ronaldo.
‘He was here with his mother, we were very close, and then Man United came in because they had Carlos Queiroz at the time – they took him on as a coach. And they played against Sporting and Ronaldo was outstanding and they signed him.
‘So you could imagine at the time to have Thierry Henry and Ronaldo together, like then later United had Ronaldo, Rooney, Van Nistelrooy all together.
‘They had an exceptional football team with Giggs and Scholes together. That certainly would have changed a little bit the history of our football club and my stay here as well.’
The 68 year-old added: ‘There is always something you could have done differently.
‘The problem with a negotiation is always to know when you give in and when you don’t give in. And once we were at £4.5m we wanted maybe still negotiations, I don’t exactly remember.
‘But with David [Dein] we met [Ronaldo’s agent Jorge] Mendes in Paris and he was representing Sporting. So we were very, very close. But Man United after they went to £11m or £12m which at the time we could not afford.’
United spent £12m on Ronaldo back in 2003, and six years later he became the most expensive player in the history of football when he joined Real Madrid for £80m.
Gooners, do you think Arsenal would have won more league titles if they had Ronaldo in their ranks? Let us know in the comments…