Arsene Wenger reveals a player he regretted not signing

Arsene Wenger has revealed to The Tuesday Club podcast that he regrets not re-signing Nicolas Anelka in 2008 when the Frenchman became available.

Anelka had a stint at Arsenal earlier on between 1996-99 before he left the Gunners to join Real Madrid.

He would later have a journeyman career that would see him return to England.

In 2008, he was starring for Bolton and he was topping the scoring charts. He wanted to return to Arsenal and Wenger was still the club’s manager at the time, but the Frenchman turned down the chance to sign his compatriot and Anelka moved to Chelsea.

He won the Premier League with the Blues and he scored more than 50 goals for them.

Wenger has now revealed that he probably should have signed Anelka again seeing that the striker scored a lot of goals at Chelsea.

He, however, claimed that he wanted to use the situation to send a message to the other players that if they ever left the club, then there is no way back for them.

“Maybe (it was the wrong decision)!” Wenger said. “He wanted to come back. Maybe it was a mistake.

“I wanted to give the signal to the players that once you left the club there is no way back.

“I felt that they would then have a hesitation to leave. I didn’t give them the feeling of ‘ok I go somewhere else, I try it and if it doesn’t work I come back’.

“That’s why I didn’t do it and overall maybe I should have done it. Nicolas still scored in 125 games overall in the Premier League I think, something like that, so he could have helped us.”

Tags Nicolas Anelka


  1. He was scary at age 19, should never have left us in the first place. It was his greedy brother who talked him into leaving. Mind you we made a huge profit having paid just £500k for him. Maybe we should have taken him back because he was a classy footballer and could have become an Arsenal great.

    1. maybe we should but sometimes it may not work out

      but in 2008 if Eduardo did not get injured or if we had Anelka we would have won the title

      its a gamble for not taking him back that failed

      1. I got the impression that AW wouldn’t take back players who had the temerity to leave; to make an example of them
        Definitely right to say that it may not have worked out second time around though. He ended up having a mixed career

        1. Not only he made a big mistake with Anelka but also with Fabregas. Both went to Chelsea. Wenger made a bigger mistake by selling Giroud to Chelsea. The biggest mistake was when he unnecessarily disbanded the invincibles in a hurry.

  2. Sick of these Wegner,”Could have signed him and him”, etc. Why didn’t he?He is almost proud to have made so many bad calls especially post Highbury. What I really get mad about is the few chances he gave to Serge Gnabry,what happened? Why protect the careers of Elany, Xhaka, and Ramsey at his expense?

  3. PS.I think Wegner was justified in not resigning Anelka.As a teenager he had it all but blew it away through greed and arrogance. By 2008 Anelka was bad news.

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