The France international could have ended up working alongside the Arsenal manager on leaving Old Trafford, but he eventually chose Juventus.
Arsene Wenger’s eye for young players has benefited Arsenal over the years, with the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Hector Bellerin and recently the emergence of Alex Iwobi going on to become first team regulars. The Frenchman has had plenty of success when it comes to player recruitment, but for every starlet who has been under him, there are few world class players who could have -but didn’t- join him at London colney.
One of those names is Paul Pogba. The former Juventus midfielder was resigned this summer for a world record fee of £89 million by Manchester United. His performance in a United shirt has been a far cry from the eye-watering price tag.
According to goal, Pogba has been courted by Arsenal from his days at Le Havre, with Wenger beaten to his signature by his former arch-rival Sir Alex Ferguson in 2009. And while those three years have not gone well in terms of game time, he has returned to United as the world’s most expensive player and fans favourite, even if he is yet to replicate his form at Juventus
“Things happened very quickly. ” we were interested in him”, Wenger said in 2014. “We tried to get him to come here. But he very quickly signed for Juventus.”Edit
Ferguson’s decision to let Pogba leave may be one of his biggest regret as United boss but such regret is also shared by Wenger who failed in his effort to bring Pogba down south all those years. Pogba’s older brother Florentin has revealed that “the clubs that made him dream were Real Madrid, Manchester United, Barcelona and Arsenal” – but the pull from Emirates and the chance of playing under his compatriots was not enough for a player who clearly has his sights set on being the world’s best.
Yaya Toure, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Didier Drogba and Michael Essien are all players who Wenger was in for before they joined their respective clubs. They are near misses which partly describe the second half of Wenger’s reign which has been full of ‘almosts’ both on and off the pitch.
Pogba will be looking to show that he made the right decision and Arsenal’s new £30million signing, Granit Xhaka will also want to prove he is up to the task to anchor Arsenal’s midfield.