Arsene Wenger reveals regret over not re-signing Nicolas Anelka

Arsene Wenger Nicolas Anelka

Could he have made a difference?

Arsene Wenger has revealed that he regrets not re-signing Nicolas Anelka when he had an opportunity to do so in 2008.

Anelka joined Arsenal as a 17-year-old in 1997 and he spent three seasons at the north London club.

He was the club’s top goalscorer in his third season scoring 17 goals in the Premier League but he was criticised by fans for a perceived lack of enthusiasm as he was dubbed, ‘Le Sulk’. Anelka’s unhappiness at Arsenal saw him sign for Real Madrid in the summer 0f 1999.

Almost 10 years later in 2008, Nicolas Anelka was available and with Arsenal struggling in the striker department due to injuries to Robin van Persie and Eduardo, Arsene Wenger considered a move for his former player.

However, the move didn’t materialise and Anelka signed for Chelsea where he scored 38 goals across 125 appearances.

Wenger admits that he regrets not signing the Frenchman as he believes his goals could have helped Arsenal to further success.

“Maybe (it was the wrong decision)!” Wenger told the Tuesday Club Podcast. “He wanted to come back. Maybe it was a mistake.

“I wanted to give the signal to the players that once you left the club there is no way back.

“I felt that they would then have a hesitation to leave. I didn’t give them the feeling of ‘ok I go somewhere else, I try it and if it doesn’t work I come back’.

“That’s why I didn’t do it and overall maybe I should have done it. Nicolas still scored in 125 games overall in the Premier League I think, something like that, so he could have helped us.”

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Author: Sean McMahon

Sean is Deputy Editor and head rugby writer. You can contact him by email or on Twitter