Arsenal FC manager Arsene Wenger has once again regretted missing out on Yaya Toure ahead of their clash against Manchester City.
Yaya Toure has been one of the most consistent performers in the League this season and has spearheaded Manchester City’s charge towards the title with some brilliant performances from the midfield alongside Fernandinho. The former Barcelona midfielder has seemingly unlocked the goal scoring side of his game this season and is City’s leading goal scorer in the league heading into this game. The 30-year-old has already found the back of the net 17 times in 28 starts in the Premier League, along with his five assists so far. But things could have been very different for Toure and he could have been scoring these goals in an Arsenal jersey had it worked out well for him and the Gunners back in 2003.
He was perhaps one of the biggest miss of Arsene Wenger. In Yaya Toure, Arsenal had the best chance of replacing someone like Patrick Viera, someone whom they are yet to find a replacement for. Toure was a perfect successor, but it was not to be. Toure was handed a trial by Arsene Wenger in 2003 in a friendly pre-season match against Barnet, but unfortunately it didn’t go too well for the Kolo Toure’s younger brother. Not only did he fail to impress, there was also issues with his work permit in England. Wenger later said in an interview –
“He can play center back, as a second-striker, as a midfielder and for a long time we didn’t know where to play him. He played in a preseason game at Barnet as a second striker – and he was completely average on the day.”
In another interview the Frenchman said – “I know him very well, since he was 15 years old, so I know him for a long time. He is a top-class talent.
He was here as a young boy but we cannot get players in here if they are not internationals. He had no work permit and was too young. We tried to wait until when he was in Belgium, we tried to get him a European passport. He was not patient enough and left for Metalurh Donetsk, that is the club where he went.”
As Arsenal prepare to face Manchester City at the Emirates on Saturday, Arsene Wenger has once again regretted missing out on Yaya Toure back at that time.
“It would be up at the top [of my list of regrets. But let’s not forget that Yaya Toure had an agreement with us – and it’s not because we did not want to sign him that he went to Ukraine.
“We needed to wait for his passport in Belgium. We have made mistakes but he is not a mistake, it’s just the fact that he preferred to go to Metalurh Donetsk. He could go there without any passport.” – The Arsenal manager said.
But despite his brilliant form Arsene Wenger believes his side cannot just concentrate on dealing with him in this game as there are many other threats present in the City squad.
“You cannot deal with everybody individually because all the players are good. I believe it’s down to our collective defending – the quality of our collective defending that will make the difference.” – Wenger added.