Arsenal legend reveals how Arsene Wenger hijacked Real Madrid transfer in dramatic style

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Arsenal legend Robert Pires has revealed that he came very close to sealing a transfer to Real Madrid before Arsene Wenger intervened.

Pires was a man in demand after impressing at Marseille, and it looked like he was close to agreeing on a big move to the Bernabeu before Arsenal swooped late on.

The Frenchman went on to become a Highbury legend, and one of the finest attacking players in the modern era in English football, so fans will bee relieved that Wenger managed to get a deal done from under Real’s noses.

“In 2000, I was lucky to have Real, Juve, Arsenal… A very hard choice,” Pires told L’Equipe.

“Everyone told me that I was crazy not to have gone to Real. It was very heated though. I even took the photo with the Real jersey during the Euros in Belgium! For the newspaper AS, I believe. And everything happened very quickly.

“Arsene (Wenger) called me and upset my plans. After the final, he sends me a plane, I pass the medical visit and I sign.

“Arsenal with him, Titi (Henry), Pat (Vieira), it’s reassuring. It’s a stable club, especially after my difficult season at OM and knowing that in Madrid, things could explode at any time. However, when I was younger, I was a fan of Real and Michel.”

Pires ended up staying at Arsenal until the end of the 2005/06 season, winning the title unbeaten with the Gunners in that famous Invincibles season, and helping them reach their first ever Champions League final.

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