Arsenal were close to signing Yaya Toure says Wenger.
Arsene Wenger has revealed Arsenal came close to signing Yaya Toure in 2003.
SEE ALSO: The top 10 best Arsenal games of all time
Toure, now driving Manchester City’s title bid, played in a friendly for Arsenal against Barnet in summer 2003 when the Ivorian was with Belgian club Beveren.
Wenger has since described his performance against the Bees as ‘completely average’ but the Gunners boss has revealed he wanted the youngster Toure to join his brother Kolo in North London, only for the player to opt for a move to Ukraine instead.
“Let’s not forget that Yaya Toure had an agreement with us and it’s not because we did not want to sign him that he went to Ukraine,” Wenger is quoted as saying by the Mirror.
“We needed to wait for his passport in Belgium. We have made mistakes but he is not a mistake, it’s just the fact that preferred to go go Metalurh Donetsk. It was there he could go without any passport.”
Wenger’s Arsenal are set to face Toure and his Manchester City teammates at the Etihad on Saturday in a match crucial to the title ambitions of both clubs.
The North London club are six points behind leaders Chelsea after a suffering a 6-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge followed by a 2-2 draw with Swansea, but the Frenchman has not given up hope of catching the leaders.
“It is (our last chance) yes. But I believe that we have to keep going despite the past two negative results and if people say that Everton can catch us, that means we can catch the teams above us as well because they play against each other.
“It is the next game that is of course very important, and the next game is of massive importance because it is Man City and they fight at the top.
“They are the favourites with Chelsea and Liverpool but when you play one of the favourites, you have an opportunity to shorten the distance with them.”