Gunners wanted Essien as well as Ba.
Arsenal also enquired about the availability of Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien when they tried to sign Demba Ba on loan, CaughtOffside can reveal.
The Ghanian international is currently a backup player at Stamford Bridge after a series of injury-hit years at the club, and was allowed to leave on loan last summer as he spent the 2012/13 season with Real Madrid.
Arsenal have been somewhat short in the defensive midfield department since the sale of Alex Song to Barcelona last summer, and were keen to continue their search for a new player in this position despite the signing of Mathieu Flamini on a free transfer.
With Mikel Arteta and Abou Diaby both facing lengthy spells on the sidelines through injury, Arsene Wenger thought it was worth asking Chelsea for a price on Essien, though as with his attempts to sign Ba, he was told that the 30-year-old was not available.
Jose Mourinho later admitted he was particularly keen not to loan Ba to Arsenal after hearing that they’d signed Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid, as he believed the combination of the two could potentially make the Gunners serious title contenders this season.
The Portuguese coach remains a fan of Essien as well, and preferred to keep the former Lyon man at Stamford Bridge this season after failing to land targets such as Sami Khedira and Daniele De Rossi in the summer, with fear as well that John Obi Mikel could seal a move to Galatasaray late on as well, leaving the club short of options in midfield.
Arsenal had also been linked with the likes of Geoffrey Kondogbia and Joshua Guilavogui as options for their midfield, though these two players ended up joining Monaco and Atletico Madrid, respectively.
After failing in a late attempt to sign Essien, Wenger decided not to pursue another midfielder this summer, as he is content with the addition of Flamini to his squad.
The Frenchman re-joined the Gunners after five years away from the club in Italy with AC Milan, and impressed Wenger while training with the club as a free agent in August.
In the end, Arsenal fans will be happy with how the summer went, as deadline day provided a genuine high point with the club-record signing of Ozil from Real Madrid for £42m.
Although an attacking midfielder is arguably not Arsenal’s priority at the moment, the German international certainly has the quality to add something different to Wenger’s side, and Mourinho may be glad he didn’t strengthen the Gunners further by allowing Ba and Essien to move to the Emirates Stadium.