Another player who Wenger ‘almost signed’!

Arsene Wenger is famous for talking about players that he ‘almost signed’ for Arsenal, with the likes of Messi, Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic all featuring on the list. It’s a common feature of discussion but oddly enough the names are never mentioned until they become world class.

One player who has broken the trend of being revealed when they have become world class is Manchester City’s young striker Kelechi Iheanacho. According to the player’s former academy boss, Iheanacho could’ve been wearing the red and white of Arsenal, only for the deal to be pulled by his former side before the Gunners could get him to sign.

Iheanacho’s former academy boss Ezenwere reportedly told website AllNigeriaSoccer.

“Arsenal were interested in Kelechi but I blocked the move, there was a problem with the agent brokering the deal.

I picked Manchester City ahead of Arsenal not because of money. I knew if he went to Man City he had a better chance of playing there than Arsenal and I have been proved right.

Kelechi has now become very popular, it wouldn’t have been so if he joined Arsenal.”

It’s a bold statement to suggest Iheanacho wouldn’t have had an opportunity to play for Arsenal like he has for City. In fact it is something that confuses me slightly considering Arsenal are world reknowned for giving young players a chance in the first team. Arsene Wenger dedicated a few years of Arsenal’s history to the development of young players at the club, with the spine of the side featuring the likes of Fabregas, Wilshere, Nasri and Szczesny. If Iheanacho had signed for Arsenal, I’m sure he would’ve got a chance to make an impact in the first team, just like he currently is at City. I personally reckon his former boss is trying to bath in the glory for what the young striker has become.

Many may think that this story doesn’t particularly matter and honestly it doesn’t really change anything to do with Arsenal’s current abilities. Iheanacho wouldn’t have made such a difference at Arsenal to the extent that the club’s fortunes would have changed. However if Iheanacho turns out to be amongst some of the best strikers in the not too far distance future, then I’m sure his name will be added to the list of players that Arsene Wenger almost signed.



  1. A bit OT:
    3 of the 5 goals scored yesterday was by Nigerian young stars. The future is bright for Nigeria.
    Akpom and

    1. Nigerian players are strong and powerful hopefully our guys Iwobi and Akpom develop so they can be world beaters winning lots of trophies for Arsenal in the future

      1. So sure of Iwobi. It is in the blood (Okocha’s nephew). Akpom can be good if he can learn more. He has a bullying shape good for a striker. He is gaining confidence now. I believe he will make it with Arsenal.

        Please where is Sanogo?

  2. He went to Man City because he wanted to be paid in full

    *awaits for muffdiver to bust out the adidas trainers*

  3. Remind me this vacuous article if Iheanaco really hit the same note as Messi or Ronaldo. Besides, we already have our own Kelechi here. Kelechi Nwakali, the new (we hope so) Nwano Kanu.

  4. OT: Saw wenger run on the pitch to inspect how bad Gabriel injury was….
    He must have known he’d lost his 2nd only fit defender & must now do a late run to the market (maybe in valencia)…
    He had Longer than a month to take precautions(when mert was out…..Fook! can’t believe he wanted to keep on with mert next season….what!!)….. But nah…he’s got Gabriel , chambers, holding and bielik….. All top quality and worldclass CBs in the making

    Now it Seems like injuries especially (not fitness/form) are the only things that drives the old man mad!

    Now he would do same with the CF position……gamble…. Don’t worry nothing’s gonna happen to giroud (no injuries, no barren spell) & if anything does happen, we got Akpom and walcott (wow u can see he’s now scoring Lots of goals)…..
    It’s not yet EPL kickoff but reality have started to set in….. BooYoo!


    1. Scan can’t be treat today on Gabriel because they comeback to London at midnight. We’ve to wait until tomorrow to find out. Whatever, it’s look severe because he couldn’t even spoke at the pitch. Oh dear, if this kind of thing and situation won’t move Arsene to push that buying button, what else could?

      1. Find it hard to believe they wouldn’t do a scan in Scandiland right after the game. They can not afford to wait to with finding out what the problem is till tomorrow.

  5. It makes sense because City have a squad with many players going over the hill in much need of younger players. Where as at Arsenal we already have many youngsters that have waited patiently for their turn, and now only are they getting it. This kid would have waited longer at Arsenal to get his shot.

    In another note another disappointing transfer window so far, I don’t think we will sign anyone else tbh and if we do it won’t be the CF we desperately need.

    I really hope our young guns can step up to the plate and fill those boots, literally.


  6. Not so sure if it is our memory which tells us Arsenal is a place where young players get a chance or it is a fact based in reality. In recent times it seems there more young players who never got a real chance and were send on loan spells only to be sold or disappear into anonymity.

    Sure Coq and Iwobi are doing well but I have the impression they were given a chance as a result of injury crisis, not as a result of methodical planning of their career path.

    Having said that Iwobi looks like a beast! You gotta love that guy, I am really looking forward to watching him this season. I hope he gets many chances from Wenger.

    1. Can you explain how giving chance as methodical planning of a player’s career works? If I remember well last season Iwobi came out to say that Wenger denied him opportunity to go on loan because he wanted to develop him alongside senior players. By the way which injury gave Iwobi an opportunity to play? Coquelin was given his chances in 2011/12 season but his performances were below par so he was sent on loan to mature. When he returned his performances were again below par until he was sent on loan to a championship team. He might have returned because of injury problems in the DM department, but the short loan spell changed him. How is that not a career planning for a player? Zalalem was playing with Rangers and Akpom Hull City. Is that not giving a player who is not yet ready a chance to be ready? Beilik was told he will play a part in the coming campaign and if that fail he will then be sent on loan. How is that not planning?

      You always complain that the club is not buying established players yet you complain that the manager is not giving youngsters a chance. Is that not an argument in contradiction?

      1. There seems to be a lot of inconsistencies in many arguments put forward on here….
        It’s the same choir who sing ‘why didn’t we sign messi, ronaldo and zlatan when they were younger!?!?!’ who have a whinge when we sign Asano (who’s f’n killing it at the olympics!!) Holding and Nwakali because they want already established players…. Just can’t win!!

      2. gladly concede that using the career planning phrase was perhaps not the best way to express myself. I guess I should have said a career at Arsenal is no longer more promising for a young player than at any other big club. The point I was trying to convey is that to me it seems most of our young promising players in recent years don’t really get a chance at Arsenal first team football or are simply not good enough. if I were the manager of a young player and look at the odds and track record of Arsenal young guns I would not be overly impressed compared to some other clubs.

        The days we produced and brought along players like Cesc, Ramsey, Wislhire, Walcott seem behind us and all the up and coming players we have heard and followed for the years since have not really made a great impact. If you looked and Man U’s game last night there appeared to be a few more young players in that team.

        We seem to have a bit of a lost “generation” in terms of young promising players transitioning into the first team with a modicum of success.

        Players like
        Jay Emmanual Thomas,
        Ryo Miachi,

        1. I get what you’re saying… But you’ve highlighted three academy graduates, two of which are still at the club and one very young transferred player who was used in the first-team instantly in Theo. What do you think happened to the rest of the kids in the academy same time as Cesc….?
          The fact is we’re Arsenal, not a team in the Championship. An extremely small percentage of kids coming through are going to be good enough to make the grade. An even smaller percentage of that group is going to be ready at any age less than 20 without some seriously impressive loan moves.
          You highlight United… But in the past two seasons we’ve promoted Bellerin, Iwobi and brought Coquelin in to the first-team after a series of loan moves. Bielik and Akpom have also been given major chances to impress this pre-season.. I can only think of Rashford and Lingard for United???

          1. Well however you slice and dice it, to me we were the team that could pitch youngsters on the fact that they got a real chance. Nowadays to me we are not that team anymore.

            Personally I am happy about that because I think we are a much more balanced team in terms of experience and youth. But that doesn’t mean it makes no sense if someone thinks a player has more chance to play at City or another club. We might have the best midfield depth in the PL, how can you break into that? With players like Wilshire, Xhaka, etc likely on the bench.

            Happy you reminded me about Bellerin. What an impressive guy. Hope we can hold onto to him. Between him and Iwobi we finally have some youngsters coming through. Coq at 25 is hardly a youngster. Coq was our most important player two seasons ago when he came on the scene and it hurt us when he got injured last season. I like his playing style and it was much needed at the club. I am also very impressed by Elneny. I think we are set in midfield. (and it will not be so easy for other youngsters to break into the squad),

    2. ‘Methodical planning of their career path….’ – What are you talking about?? This is a football club not a day care!!!

  7. If you fail to prepare, then you prepare to fail.. .thats the case with Wenger. He loves it the hard way. Let’s see who he will sign even if my hopes ain’t high.. .

    I just hope some young guns in the team do a Bellerin/Coquelin this season….

    1. Arsenal Centre backs: Per, Koscielny, Gabriel, Chambers, Beilik, and Holding. And you think we needed to add others on this list merely because Koscielny will miss two weeks of the start of the campaign? That we have lost two senior defenders to injury in the space of two weeks is something that cannot be put down to lack of planning considering the number of CBs we have. Look around other teams and tell us how many centre backs they have. Chelsea they have Terry and Cahill fit unless they bought other players who I do not know. Manu its Smalling, Baily, and Blind. Man City Mangala, Fernando, and Otamendi.

      You tend to moan without base.

      1. Mert was already a liability in some games last season as a result of his lack of pace and a successor should have been planned. Gabriel has failed to impress consistently and has a lot left to prove. Even yesterday he was involved in both goals we conceded.

        If you listen to Winterburn last night he seems to think Holding and Bielik are not ready and it is hard to disagree with him. And ask yourself how many games Wenger gave Chambers last season as CD and you will find out how ready he thinks he is and how highly he thinks of him.

        If you want to win a major trophy we needed a better and experienced CD to replace Mert IMO and Gabriel was not that player. He is at best a good backup at the moment (before he got injured).

        1. While I disagree with you on a need to replace Mertz as I think he still has a lot to offer as a squad player (experience, consistency and the ability to come into the team and perform instantly)… I do agree that Gabriel is nowhere near the level we need for our starting CB pairing. We have two amazing fullbacks, a world-class goalie and a world-class CB. For of the five pieces of a title-winning defense IMO.

          1. josh, I agree, I didn’t mean to imply we should have sold Mert. I meant to imply we should have tried to find a partner for Kos and have the luxury to bring in Mert for injured players or for appropriate games (where his lack of speed is less likely to hurt us or be big factor.).

            Like you said we have 5 great defensive players in Bellerin, Kos, Monreal and Cech, one solid singing and we have a top back line.

        2. Per like any other player made errors last season but it will be wrong to say he was a liability. Per brings stability at the back whoever he plays with: Kos, Gabriel, Chambers, Monreal, or Debuchy. That has not been possible with Kos despite his individual ability. Since you believe in succession planning you could see that Beilik and Holding are the future of of CB, and the best player to partner them so that they earn experience is Per.

          As for Gabriel, I believe it is too early to say he is not good enough, because a player in that position needs to adapt not only to the league, but his partner, and the team’s all round play. Kos, in his first first two seasons was not as great, so a rotation between Per, Gabriel, and Chambers around Kos would have suffice.

          The argument of bringing in a “better and experienced CD” is theoretical because that very same player will still need to adapt to the style of his partner, and the partnership may not work. Mangala and Otamendi were highly rated when they came to Man City but they are yet to adapt. Baily was a cheap replacement of Gabriel, so if he was to follow Gabiel’s trajectory he will struggle this season.

          Your last paragraph implies that Man United, Chelsea, Man City, Leicester, and even Tottenham will not win the league this season because their CBs are no better than Kos, Per, and Gab. Arsenal conceded 36 goals last season, 1 more than Man United and Tottenham, hence by your logic those teams also need to strengthen at the back, and have not done anything worth talking about so far.

          You seem to fall in the trap of over magnifying the downside when it comes to Arsenal.

          1. Can’t follow your logic. Analize again.

            I said Garbirel is at best a solid backup AT THE MOMENT. I have not written him of in any way, I just think the verdict is not out on him and he is not ready or has not proven himself to be ready to be a starter. Hopefully he will grow into that role but until he does we have a weak spot because Mert, when fit, is too slow and near the end of his playing career.

            It was Wenger himself who said he was looking for an experienced CD. Maybe you think he is wrong, I don’t.

            Sorry to say but a pairing of Mert and Bielik or Holding (as you suggest) doesn’t inspire me with confidence. He doesn’t have the speed to fill the gaps they will inevitably leave when they make mistakes. Even Wenger himself said in a recent interview that the game had evolved to speedy CD and speedy strikers. That criterium doesn’t fit Mert or Giroud.

            Finally, I made no prediction about Man U or Spurs, although I would not be surprised if either do well this year. More often than not a solid defense is a great start for a successful season.

            I think a team should improve each summer. For me, we have possibly the best midfield in the PL with little room for improvement. The low hanging fruit in terms of room for immediate improvement are at CD and central striker.

            To replace Mert and Giroud would add quality to our spine immediately and I believe that there are or were players available that could address the lack of speed these two players have.

  8. I think Wenger will use Giroud and Walcott up front again this season. I don’t see him getting a forward. He had plenty of opportunities
    Wenger said yesterday that Theo is a striker and he will use him up front more often

    I hope I am wrong 🙁

  9. “Almost”, “almost” that is Arsenal “sad” story…

    Summer 2013, Griezman just finished a brilliant season with Sociedad which encouraged Arsene Wenger and “Arsene football club” (sarcastic but this club is his, clearly…!!) to make contact with his entourage in order to bring him to the club. At the time Griezman refused 7 offers only because he wanted to play for us… The all summer passed and even though the club was contacted by the player agent several times, Wenger people, sorry, Wenger puppets finally made the call to say they were not interested anymore… Griezman ended up staying one more year at Sociedad… We know what happened after that…

    Funny enough, Wenger relaunched Griezman during and after the Euro 2016 (typical “deluded one” move) to see his advances and promises of apparent glory being shut to his face by a “world class” price tag (what did he expect, oh yes, they all want to come to Arsenal… Right?).

    The fact is, this club pays top draw wages for less than average players (Walcott).

  10. Arsenal_girl,you ain’t wrong….expect Walcott start some games as a striker. I just hope we won’t have a frustrating season…

    Hope I am wrong as I want the best for the team..

  11. I wonder why Sanchez and Ozil have not penned new contracts??
    May be “the deluded one” is waiting for them to reach their last year before making an offer or it might the fact that those 2 realised that apart from a nice weekly pay check, they will get nothing else to put in their trophy cabinet (and they might need to search glory somewhere else, like many others did).

  12. 2 weeks ago the rumour mill was
    rife with big name stars on
    planes to London looking
    for houses taking medicals.
    According to Emanuel Giulianelli and a host of other ITK insiders
    Arsenal had signed 70 mill Higuain 60 mill Morata 50 mill Icardi
    40 mill Mahrez and 30 mill Lacazette.
    CB’s Mustafi 23 mill and Koulibali 25 mill were as good as gunners.
    The manager said he was very busy and all his scouts were scouring
    the planet for top talent and he was ready to spend big on top targets.
    But everything has gone cold on big names especially those with big transfer fees.
    With Mertz Wellbeck and now Gabriel injured all of whom are on big salaries I fear the
    new message will be “we are ok up front so no Mahrez + no Lacazette.
    At CB no Mustafi no Koulibali because 5 mill Scott Dan
    2 mill Rob Holding and 2 mill Bielik are more our style.
    After all top 4 is the goal.

    The 2 mill Holding purchase might be followed by a
    5 mill purchase of Scott Dann s free loan player
    or relying on the 2 mill acquisition Bielik.
    Debuchy may now also stay as he is worth no more than 2 mill
    from his 12 mill purchase price 2 years ago
    and a quality addition would cost 16 mill.
    Its a risk though as he is injury prone.
    Up front we have been told Arsenal is ready to spend big
    on top class signings all summer from the CEO Board manager
    and every “insider’ in the business yet whats the bet
    the big 70 mill out lay promised on Lacazette and Mahrez
    is cancelled completely.
    The new signings actually being Asano Walcott Iwobi and Campbell.
    Mr Giulianelli where are you ?

  13. Gabriel unfortunate injury leaves us with just Holding and Chambers as the only recognisable CB… Waooooo !! (Top club is it?).
    May be Debuchy will get a crack as CB or even Monreal (why not, we’ve been there before).
    Wenger will not bring a striker, I think we understood that. I think he is going to keep Akpom this time (may be as an excuse, unless the boy comes to age). We also have the wanna be postman, Sanogo, still in the frame… So in “the deluded one” mind we have (and I am quoting from France Football) “a strong and reasonable squad. As long as we stick together and work for each other we will be fine” lol ?

    This guy is unbelievable ?

    1. You need to get a life. Kos is still an Arsenal player and Beilik is a defender for Christ’s sake.

      1. Bielik is not ready to play at the highest level. How many starts did he get last season? Three friendlies doesn’t prepare you for the PL.

        I think Wenger was trying to decide between Holding and Chambers for the Liverpool game. Why else would he have played them yesterday and not Bielik? Chambers IMO is more ready than Holding but still not ready to the extent he won’t be a worry to face Liverpool and Vardy.

        To me the best candidate would be Monreal who did well last season when played at CD.

  14. “I need to get a life” really?
    Krystal Bielik, really?? Gibbs is a LB, Monreal an alternative CB abd Chambers was bought £16millions… Lol?

    You would qualified as funny if you were not sad… You remind me of that guy from Arsenal fan tv who insighted he had a private chat with Gazidis regarding transfers…

    That is Arsenal, some fans are so deluded and so “out there” they have lost touch to reality…!!

    Ohh yes and Walcott is “world class”… Only in “Arsene football club”.?

    1. That is why you need to get a life because you seem to thrive on irrelevance. Bielik is an Arsenal centre back and the manager said he will play a part in the coming campaign in that position. The games which you and me have watched him play he did very well, and if the manager believes he is ready to be thrown in the deep then he is ready. Were you not part of the bandwagon calling for the loan signing of Verane? How old was he when he debutted for Real Madrid.

      Your problem is to think that the neighbour’s wife is better than yours and that the pastures are always green over there.

      1. I think you make the mistake of taking the manager for his word. Remember Chambers was also promised to play a part of last years campaign. How much of him did we see? Two games in the PL? Vs what 17 or so his first season?

  15. Yes, another one who believe Wenger has the answer for everything… Soon he might ask him for matrimonial tips and advises (talking about the neighbour’s wife, that was funny…!).

    Anyway, some of us still believe a club like Arsenal (not Arsene football club) with the fan potential and fervour SHOULD be aiming for higher objective… Not finish 10 points behind Leicester and conclude it was a great season knowing that none of the big firms had performed.

    Hopefully, this farce and joke of management will be over soon (unless he signs for those 2 more years… Why not, it is not like he can’t, this club belongs to him) and we might be, one day, able to compete for the biggest honours in football.

    If some Arsenal fans had their way, they would wheel that guy to the touch line if they could keep him for ever. The players are carrying this team, Wenger will never, ever, win the league again (even by default or pure excruciating luck) or the CL (even with a favourable draw)… That is just not going to happen.

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