Arsene Wenger admitted even before the January transfer window that he intended to bring in at least one defender to shore up Arsenal’s decimated back line, and so it came to pass, with the Brazilian Gabriel arriving with plenty of time before deadline day.
But it seems that Wenger was keeping his options open in case the Gabriel deal fell through )or he failed to get a work permit) and one of the other reported targets was St. Etienne’s Loic Perrin. The 29 year-old has now admitted that there were serious talks with Arsenal, and he would have jumped at the chance to move to the Emirates.
Perrin was reported as saying yesterday: “There were serious contacts via my agent. I think I was on a shortlist but not at the very top apparently. A transfer in this window, it is difficult. But it is difficult to refuse Arsenal.
“I have always said that if I have to leave St Étienne, one day, it would be for a bigger club, a club that plays Champions League. A club like Arsenal, I don’t think many Ligue 1 players would refuse.”
I’m sure they wouldn’t, but I also got the feeling that most JustArsenal readers were not very impressed with our link with Perrin, especially as he had never played anywhere except at St. Etienne and had last played for France as an Under-21 prospect.
Admittedly, if Arsenal had not managed to complete the signing of Gabriel then perhaps the 29 year-old Perrin could have done a job as a makeshift stopgap, but, as I said at the time, I could have imagined him just being another new Sebastien Squillaci….