Departed Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted failing to sign Cristiano Ronaldo was his biggest transfer regret.
Wenger, who has now closed the curtain on his 22-year reign as Arsenal manager, signed some of the league’s best players during his tenure, including Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Cesc Fabregas and Mesut Ozil.
But the 68-year-0ld lost out on signing Ronaldo to rivals Manchester United in 2003.
The Portuguese went on to help United win three league titles along with an FA Cup and Champions League triumph, before joining Real Madridw in 2009.
‘The obvious player (that we missed out on) that comes to mind is Ronaldo,’ Wenger told Arsenal’s website.
‘He was here with his mother and we were very close. Then Man United came in and they had Carlos Queiroz at the time, who was their coach.
‘United played against Sporting Lisbon and Ronaldo was outstanding and they signed him.
‘You could imagine at the time what it would have been like to have Thierry Henry and Ronaldo together. That would certainly have changed a little bit the history of my stay here as well.’
Wenger said the north London outfit were unable to compete with United’s £12million offer for the Portugal international.
‘There is always something you could have done differently, but the problem of negotiations is to know when you give in and when you don’t give in,’ Wenger said.
‘Once we were at £4.5m, we were still in negotiations. so we were very close. But Man United went to £12m, which we could not afford at the time.’