Wenger reveals how close he was to signing Hazard - if only he'd started spending a year earlier

Eden Hazard playing for Lille

The Arsenal manager has been talking about Eden Hazard's Premier League switch - leaving us wondering, what if the Belgian had ended up at the Emirates?

Arsene Wenger gave supporters a glimpse of what might have been recently, after disclosing just how close the club came to signing Belgian superstar Eden Hazard from Lille.

Hazard famously shopped his services through the media, first whetting appetites by stating he was definitely going to the Premier League, before narrowing it down even more by saying he'll be turning out for a team in blue.

As it turned out, the tint of that blue turned out to be of the Stamford Bridge variety, and Hazard has gone on to prove himself as one of the best players in the league since his switch to West London.

But before things got to that point, Arsenal boss Wenger, who has famously strong connections with most Ligue 1 clubs and had signed Gervinho from Lille the summer before, revealed he had the Belgian's agent at his house, and was very interested in securing a deal.

Wenger is reported as telling BeIN Sports: "Yes, I wanted to take him, I had his agent at my home but again the barrier was financial and Chelsea made an effort that I couldn’t make.

"He can be one of the players who grows into the Messi, Ronaldo stature if he continues to develop well."

The financial barriers that restricted Wenger were lifted a year later, with the Gunners able to compete at the very highest level for proven top players such as Mesut Ozil.

If that financial freedom would have come in 2012 rather than 2013, it is feasible that Hazard would have been dominating from the left of Arsenal's midfield, rather than Chelsea's.

Such a move may well have meant that Arsene Wenger's men were the side still challenging at the top of the Premier League, and given the recent Mourinho/Hazard fallout, maybe the Belgian would have been happier too.

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