Arsene Wenger has revealed he tried to sign Paul Pogba for Arsenal in the summer of 2012, before his French compatriot decided to join Juventus.
Having grown frustrated at the lack of first team opportunities at Manchester United, Pogba had rejected the chance to extend his stay at Old Trafford in favour of a fresh challenge elsewhere. A number of clubs had been linked with the midfield star, but it was the Bianconeri who took him on a free transfer in one of the best pieces of business in recent years.
The 21-year-old has gone on to become a key player for the Italian giants as he has helped them to successive Serie A titles, and he has also become an integral part of the France national side. All this is to the obvious discomfort of his former club, who would certainly welcome some added class to their midfield, and also Wenger who wanted the player at Arsenal.
“As a footballer, he (Pogba) has everything,” the Gunners coach told French TV of a player who has been named as a contender for the FIFA World Player of the Year award. “It is difficult to figure out what he doesn’t have. Things happened very quickly. We were interested in him. We tried to get him to come here. But he very quickly signed for Juventus. He has the potential to win the Ballon d’Or.”
Meanwhile, Wenger has also ruled out a January exit for Lukas Podolski. The German international has struggled to force his way into the first team picture at the Emirates Stadium club this term, having started just four times in all competitions and not once in the Premier League, but it appears that reports of a New Year move to Rafael Benitez’s Napoli are wide of the mark.
“It is not established at all that he will leave at Christmas,” Wenger told beIN Sports. “It is me who sets the price and (the reported deal) doesn’t correspond at all to his price. He is not for sale and there is no offer. Podolski plays a position where there is a big competition. He came very late from his holidays [after the World Cup], so he started after his team-mates and was not good physically.”