Arsenal are notorious for giving young talents an opportunity to perform in the early stages of their professional career. The club is also famous however for poaching young players before they have hit the ground running, only for them to turn into top class talents. Arsene Wenger has had the success stories of Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott, Hector Bellerin and more to our own, Alex Iwobi. But is there one player who could’ve been a regular feature in the Arsenal line-up, if Wenger had managed to get his hands on him!
The relationship between Arsenal and Barcelona should be considered a strong one, although admittedly more so for Barcelona. During the Arsene Wenger reign we’ve seen numerous top class players leave Arsenal for the Spanish giants. Whilst in return Arsenal more often than not only target their youth team players.
The likes of Bellerin, Toral, Fabregas and Merida are names that come to mind who have made the move from Barca to Arsenal when they are young. For Bellerin and Fabregas, the move worked out. Whilst for Merida and Toral, arguably not so much. However one name that could’ve been added to that list was Sergi Samper, who has recently revealed that he had the opportunity of signing for Arsenal.
Samper was on Arsene Wenger’s radar along with Bellerin and Toral and at the time Samper was considered one of the most promising talents on the Spanish clubs books. They certainly wouldn’t have wanted him to follow in Fabregas’ footsteps and leave, but Samper himself wasn’t so keen on a move to England.
Samper revealed: “I did not want to even listen to Wenger. I made it clear to him that I wanted to stay, that I wanted to triumph at Barca, that I was a Cule fanatic and that making it at Barca in the future would make me the happiest.”
Samper made his decision clear to Arsene Wenger, but it may be a decision he now regrets considering that he’s even struggling to make an impact at Granada. Samper just hasn’t had the impact or breakthrough at Barcelona that was anticipated and now this sudden calling upon Arsenal may suggest that he’s starting to regret not making the move.
Whether Arsene Wenger would’ve been able to nurture Samper to the same consistent level he was on, right up until he became a first team player, is something that we’ll never know. But I do remember Arsenal being linked with the player and how he was expected to be an exceptional talent. With so many midfielders on the books there is no longer any room in the inn for the Spaniard to join the club, but I suppose the 21 year old can continue to hope that Arsene Wenger may show an interest in him again!