Tuesday, January 25, 2022

I Regret Not Signing Cristiano Ronaldo – Arsene Wenger Reveals He Rejected N’Golo Kante At Arsenal

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Arsene Wenger has revealed he had the chance to sign N’Golo Kante for Arsenal when the midfielder was first starting his career but turned down the opportunity.

The 30-year-old has enjoyed an outstanding career, winning the World Cup with France as well as Premier League titles with Leicester City and Chelsea, adding the Champions League to his collection last season after a string of man-of-the-match displays in the knockouts.

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In the early days of Wenger’s reign in north London, Kante would have fitted the exact mould of young, unnoticed French talent that the former Arsenal manager had such success with.

But he has now revealed that he was aware of Kante almost a decade ago but opted against signing him, putting his disastrous decision on par with the time Arsenal almost signed Cristiano Ronaldo only to be gazumped by Manchester United.

Asked which player he regretted not signing the most in an interview with Ian Wright, Wenger said: ‘Certainly Cristiano Ronaldo.

‘I thought it was possible and if we had been a fraction quicker, a few days, because we had agreed [a deal], and Man United came in five or six days later.

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‘So I would say at the start of my career, Cristiano Ronaldo. At the end of my career, N’Golo Kante.’

Wright was astonished by his old manager’s revelation and probed him on how plausible a deal for Kante would have been, with Wenger continuing: ‘Easy, because he played in a club in Paris called Caen, where one of my best friends is director.

‘He told me, “Please, I have a player we know is unbelievable but nobody wants him in France.”

‘He took him in his car and travelled with him from club to club and finally a club from division three in France took N’Golo Kante.

‘It is an unbelievable story, N’Golo Kante, you could make a film as well with him.

‘And he is something that you don’t find often. He wins the ball without making any foul, and straight away he moves that ball forward.’

Kante joins an ever-growing list of players Wenger has revealed that he almost signed, which also includes Lionel Messi, Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Photo Credit: Getty

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