Arsene Wenger’s Failed Transfer Targets List

Arsene Wenger

If there is one constant theme running through the second half of Arsene Wenger's 20-year reign at Arsenal, it's been the difficulty in signing top talent to replace to talents when they leave Arsenal, in the case of Robin Van Persie and Cesc Fabregas.

This season (2016/17), Arsenal are faced with the dilemma of improving their squad which placed second last season (2015/16). They've had bids rebuffed by Leicester, Lyon and Valencia for Riyad Mahrez, Alexandre Lacazette and Skhodran Mustafi respectively.

It may feel like history repeating itself with Wenger having a long list of previous transfer targets who haven't ended up at the Emirates. Take a look at some of Arsene Wenger's transfer targets who they failed to sign in the last three years:


Wenger identified Napoli's Argentine striker as potentially the final piece in Arsenal's jigsaw this season. But whereas Arsenal valued Higuain around the £50m mark – which would have been a club record – Juventus moved in with an astonishing £76m bid to get their man. This move failed because of Arsenal's inability to pay such an high amount to get their man.


Wenger triggered Vardy's £22m release clause at Leicester City only for the England striker to use the interest to negotiate a new deal to stay at the King Power Stadium rather than join Arsenal. This deal may have have failed because Arsenal refused to offer him higher wages.


In 2015, Wenger was after a top-class defensive midfield player but wasn't prepared to make an offer Sporting Lisbon couldn't refuse. Lisbon demanded that the player's £37m buy-out clause be met, Arsene and Arsenal refused to meet the clause.


Arsenal believed that Suarez had a £40m release clause at Liverpool, so made a bid one pound above that. However, Liverpool successfully argued the clause only meant Suarez could speak to clubs about joining them, rather than forcing them to sell. With Liverpool adamant they wouldn't sell their star man to a Premier League rival, Wenger's only option was to try and tempt them and the player with a mind-blowing bid. They didn't do that and Suarez was voted Footballer of the Year the following season before joining Barcelona for £75m.

Sometimes Wenger and the board haven't wanted to pay the asking price, release clause, weren't prepared to offer targets astronomical wages to pull them to the Emirates. But whatever any other reasons, it's left and continues to leave a big title-winning hole in the Arsenal squad. This is one of the reasons why they haven't won the EPL title since the 2003-04 season.

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