‘Misunderstanding’ – Wenger admits regret at losing key player back in 2006

Arsene Wenger has claimed that ‘it was a mistake’ to allow Ashley Cole to leave Arsenal and join Chelsea back in 2006, blaming the club’s failings for his departure.

The left-back is possibly the best ever left-back to grace the Premier League, and was a huge credit to our academy over the years. Ashley was a key member of our famous Invincibles side of 2004 before being the subject of a ‘tapping up’ scandal by Chelsea, who were believed to have courted our player without our permission.

Both the Blues and the player were fined in 2005, before eventually being allowed to make the move to West London a year later for a measly £5 Million fee.

Arsene Wenger has now admitted that he fears a misunderstanding led to the mistake of allowing Cole to quit the club.

‘Well, I would say personally, most of the time, the players gave us seven, eight, nine years and left after,” Wenger told BeinSports (via the Metro).

‘The younger generation like [Cesc] Fabregas we lost early and would not have loved to lose him.

‘The player I think we, internally, it was a mistake to lose was Ashley Cole.

‘Because he was playing at nine, 10 years old for the club. I knew with Fabregas that taking him away from Barcelona, at some stage he’d want to go back to Barcelona.

‘But Ashley Cole came out of the club. I think it was a misunderstanding over a few thousand pounds.

‘At the time, we spoke about [Roman] Abramovich when he came into the game, Ashley Cole is one of the few players who developed even more and continued to develop when he left.’

I always believed that it was the player that pushed to leave which forced our hand in 2006, especially with the tapping up scandal fresh in our minds, but Arsene seems to be admitting guilt here.

It seems as though Wenger is admitting that we failed ourselves in negotiating our key player’s stay at the Emirates, and seeing how Cole continued to improve after he left with his prime years still ahead of him leaves me a little miffed to be honest. Maybe Arsenal believed that Gael Clichy was going to fill the gap or surpass him with further minutes under his belt, but that was always going to be a big ask.

Did the club really underestimate Cole’s importance at the time?


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  1. Cole was a little turd, as we all know. But the club DEFINITELY MISHANDLED HIS CONTRACT SITUATION. I can imagine the semi literate Cole “finking” at the time, “Im not ‘aving this!!

    Whenever I see his little weasel face on TV, I have to turn down the sound when he speaks, as I cannot bear to hear what he “finks” about anything.
    A player roundly booed by all at Wembley when he earned his 100th cap tells us something true profoundly true about this little(in so many ways) man.

  2. Such a shame that he left the way he did. Came right through the ranks, nearly sold to Crystal Palace during his loan spell there, but stayed due to Sylvinho having to be sold. Best LB I’ve ever seen play for us, shit on by the club when they decided to drop his wage increase by over 8%. He’s not the first Arsenal player to talk to another club without permission. Liam Brady done an interview with Talksport a few years ago in which he said that he had spoken to Uli Hoeness of Bayern Munich in January 1980. This was long before players could talk to a foreign club when they entered the last 6 months of their contact.

  3. seems a lot of things started to fall apart after 03-04. think it was a mixture of egos on the player side and within the club hierarchies.

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