Look away Arsenal fans! Di Maria joins AMAZING list of nearly men!

As Arsenal close in on the transfer of the uncapped Brazilian defender Gabriel Paulista from La Liga club Villarreal, Arsene Wenger knows that he will have to go to a tribunal hearing to ask for a work permit for the 24-year old to be able to play in the English Premier League and that has brought up a sore subject.

Because the boss has been complaining about the rules on work permits for players in Britain, as an ESPN explains and has revealed that these rules cost him the signature of the Man United and Argentina international star Angel Di Maria. It was when the winger was a very promising 17-year old and the permit situation meant that he ended up with Benfica in Portugal for three years before Real Madrid swooped and then sold him to United for nearly £60 million.

Wenger said, “We had identified Di Maria when he was 17. We saw him in an international competition and we wanted him to come here, but he goes to Portugal, and from Portugal he goes to Spain. Why? Because he could not get a work permit, so that means you can only get him to England once he is worth a huge amount of money.

“What does it mean if at the end of the day he comes anyway into the country [at a later date] for a huge amount of money? Who do you pay this huge amount of money to? A club like Real Madrid, they don’t need the money. We have to be conscious of that.”

Di Maria is not the only world class player that the Gunners have missed out on in recent years, for various reasons. In fact, when you look at the list of players, in a Daily Mail that Arsenal could have had at the club, it makes very painful reading for us Gooners and, I’m sure, Wenger himself.

The list includes the two best players in the world, Messi and Ronaldo, as well as the most expensive player, Gareth Bale. There are names like Yaya Toure, Ibrahimovich, Drogba and Petr Cech. Oh well Arsenal fans, we didn’t need them anyway did we?

Tags Messi Ronaldo


  1. nzGooner says:

    Tbh Olivier Giroud>all of the above

    1. muffdiver says:

      angel di maria mindset right now:

      May 2014: Champions League final Man of Match

      January 2015: Draw away at Cambridge

      I cry now

      1. KickAssFan says:

        Of course!!! What’s the point??? We could have got Zlatan and made him a DM, made Ronaldo a RB, made Messi a CB, made Yaya a goalkeeper, made Bale a linesman, etc., and even if the had shined in those positions, we could have sold them just so Stan and Arsene could sniff the scent of the bank notes and get high.

        1. Twig says:

          We wanted to make Yaya a striker. True story.

  2. sylvainwiltord says:

    OT here slightly but has anyone else noticed di Maria having a similar start to life in England as ozil, cracking first couple of months but now seems a bit lost ??

    1. jonestown1 says:

      What is more galling is the usual press/pundit double standards here – they were all over us and Mesut from just about day one – haven’t heard a peep re United’s £60M man. Funnier still, Moye’s 2 signings are probably 2 of their better performers atm – Fellaini and Herrera. Of course all the new players will get all the “settling in” time in the world from the press but presently Falcao, Shaw, Rojo, di Maria don’t look like £12M well spent never mind £120M+.

      1. muffdiver says:

        great comment –

      2. The Analyzer says:

        Herera was signed after Moyes was after. However, I understand he wanted him in the January transfer window but the deal was bungled and flopped. Man United last night was terrible. They only started signs of a premier league team towards the end of the match. I know Cambridge will be blown away at Old Tratford but its another mid week game for United which may affect their premier league performance.

  3. No10 says:

    Well he did not make a blind bit of difference against Cambridge…and btw Van Gaal is way better than Moyes, at spending that is.

  4. jonestown1 says:

    I imagine every top club in Europe could compile a similarly impressive lists of “what ifs”, “not quites”, “almost but no cigars”.

  5. Hafiz Rahman says:

    excuses always….

    1. KickAssFan says:

      I say we stop making excuses and SPEND SOME MONEY!!!

  6. Greg says:

    Heard years ago back in the 80’s we almost got diego maradona before he went napoli too!

    1. akuma gouki says:

      I think it’s Pele.

  7. mohawk says:

    Sorry, but this stuff is ridiculous. This is sports media whores trying to create interest out of nothing.

    Many teams have looked into / “almost” signed many players who turned out big. They also “almost” signed many players who turned out to be total crap (they don’t mention that part). So what.

    This “nearly” or “almost” description is waaaaaaay exergerated. I “almost” flew to the moon once.

  8. davidnz says:

    Yes last January my local club
    side tried to sign Bale Messi
    Ronaldo Pogba Suarez Varane
    Hummels Reus and Macherano.
    We offered 5k Euro but fell just
    a measley 900 mill euro short.
    que sera sera.

  9. Andrew U says:

    I love how Wenger tells us about his failures as if they are victories! I almost signed Ronaldo, I almost signed DiMaria, …. blah,blah,blah

    By the way Arsene, finishing 4th is not like winning a trophy either.

  10. windrider007 says:

    wenger does this every transfer window. WE could have ronaldo, we could have signed messi, we could have had maradona… sh ut up and buy a defender wenger

  11. Darlingbudsofarse says:

    Who cares now. We’ve heard it time and time again that I’m now asking, “who is he going to say he tried to sign next”. Sounds now like a broken record! From Yaya, CR7, Wayne Rooney to God knows! Perhaps he tried too to sign Pele, Maradona. They all came to Highbury, had our Red & White Shirts on their backs but then haggling over a few more pounds, shillings and pence scuppered the deals!
    Come on Mr. Wenger; put a sock in it!!!!

  12. The Analyzer says:

    That is the problem when you have people commenting on issues that are way above their level of reasoning. The subject matter is not about players that could have been signed by Arsenal but how UK work permit rules hinder the flow of talent into England at a far low cost. The case of Di Maria is used as an example of that, and if you were to ask other clubs you will get lists of other world class players they could have brought to the EPL had the work permit rules not been what they are.

    The focal point of discussion therefore is whether the UK work permit rules be altered to allow unhindered flow of talent into England at a lower cost. I was doing a research in the past three weeks on national competitiveness and national security. I came across a study the lamented the obsession of the US with homeland security at the expense of flow of talent into the US. The researcher argued that such approach would hurt the US national security in the long run as the country will miss out on best in class scientist, business leaders, and researchers. While the areas are different but parallels can be drawn when looking at the UK work permit rules. They protect mediocrity and young age, while buying expensive talent later. At the end of the day the mediocre talent will not make it because foreign talent will be allowed in at a higher cost.

    Just imagine if Arsenal had been allowed to buy Di Maria at 500 K pounds, that would have saved the UK 60 million pounds in import of the same player. Imagine if Arsenal had bought Yaya at 500 K pounds had it not been for work permit issues. They would have saved 35 million pounds in import of the same player at a later date. That is Wenger’s argument as directed to policy makers not FIFA football managers hanging around on this site.

  13. Schrodinger says:

    You want to tell me that work permit rules stopped wenger from signing ALL AND I MEAN ALL OF THOSE PLAYERS ? . I completely disagree. If it were man utd, chel, or liverpool(as of then)that wanted those players, they would have gotten them. It is just a matter of a few more POUNDS.

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