Two 'top class' players Arsenal were right to snub

Arsene Wenger doesn't always get it right in the transfer market for Arsenal, but there conversely are times he does.

We have heard plenty about the names Arsene Wenger turned down the chance to sign and regretted it; Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Yaya Toure.

But there are also those who he passes on, whose misfortunes make him look rather clever indeed.

So let's get to it, and have an amnesty; hands up if you were calling for Wenger to sign both Ibrahim Afellay and Nuri Sahin this summer?

Arsenal were linked heavily with signing the talented stars from Real Madrid and Barcelona last summer on loan deals. Right about now he will be glad he didn't.

At one stage it was even reported in Germany back in August as a 'done deal' that Arsenal had secured the loan of Sahin from Madrid, much to the satisfaction of fans of the Gunners.

48 hours later it was announced that the Turkish international had elected to join Liverpool instead. "His loss", said Arsenal fans, and so they proved correct.

Sahin made his debut for Liverpool against Arsenal and was practically invisible as Abou Diaby steamrollered the Reds midfield back in September in a 2-0 win.

Despite a couple of bright spots in the League Cup and Europa League, Sahin could not force himself into a midfield which often featured Jonjo Shelvey and Jordan Henderson, and by the New Year he wasn't even finding a place on the substitute's bench.

Liverpool negotiated the termination of his loan deal, and Madrid sent him back to Borussia Dortmund, where he first earned himself a reputation as one of Europe's top midfielders.

Over to exhibit B, Ibrahim Afellay. Back in the summer we were as vociferous as any in citing the Barcelona winger as a player Arsenal 'must-sign'. Although one of the principal reasons was so the winger could have linked up with close friend and international colleague Robin van Persie, and the deal could have helped the now former Arsenal captain decide to stay.

Van Persie left and Arsene Wenger didn't take up the option to loan Afellay, and the winger headed to Germany with Schalke instead.

His injury curse has been striking again, with the Germans becoming fed up with his medical problems and have already decided they don't want to renew the deal in the summer. 

The Dutchman has made just 10 Bundesliga appearances, with two goals and one assist. However he did score against Arsenal in a surprise 2-0 win at the Emirates for the Germans, which helped them top their Champions League group, and consigned Arsenal to meeting Bayern Munich rather than Galatasaray in the last 16.

So the decision to snub Afellay has been perhaps bittersweet, but principally the last thing Arsenal want is another injury plagued attacker, who has not played a single game in 2013, last featuring in the Bundesliga in November; so he would not have been much use to the club in the all important top four run-in.

Now if only that Gareth Bale who Wenger recently admitted turning down the chance to sign along Theo Walcott, had proved to be a bust too...

Arsenal fans are you glad the Gunners didn't sign either player? Did you want them to?

image: © peterfuchs

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