Arsene Wenger made many shrewd signings during his 22-year long managerial career at Arsenal. He brought in many unknown players, and turned them into world-class footballers. Thierry Henry, Robin Van Persie, Cesc Fabregas are just a few of the many who flourished under the 'Professor'. But not always did his transfer mind did wonders.
There have been many players who went away from the grasp of Arsenal during Wenger's time. And one of that player is arguably the best in the world currently. Yes, you might have guessed it right. It's none other than CRISTIANO RONALDO!
Wenger had an opportunity to sign the Portugese wonderkid back in 2003. But he let that go. And well, after more than 15 years, that's what is his biggest regret.
Speaking to Arsenal's official website, he said, "The obvious player [that we missed out on] that comes to mind is Ronaldo. He was here with his mother and we were very close. Then Man United came in and they had Carlos Queiroz at the time, who was their coach. United played against Sporting Lisbon and Ronaldo was outstanding and they signed him.
"You could imagine at the time what it would have been like to have Thierry Henry and Ronaldo together. Later Man United had Rooney, Ronaldo and Van Nistelrooy together, they had an exceptional football team, and Giggs and Scholes together. That would certainly have changed a little bit the history of my stay here as well."
The Frenchman added that the negotiation was close, but Manchester United's big pocket prized him away. "There is always something you could have done differently, but the problem of negotiations is to know when you give in and when you don’t give in.
"Once we were at £4.5 million, we were still in negotiations. David met with [Ronaldo’s agent Jorge] Mendes in Paris and he was representing Sporting, so we were very close. But Man United went to £12 million, which we could not afford at the time."
Arsenal's misfortune became Manchester United's fortune, as Ronaldo would stay with them for six years, helping them win nearly every competition.
Most of the Arsenal fans would be thinking right now, WHAT IF?