Speaking on beIN Sports, legendary former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has sensationally claimed that he had the chance to sign for Real Madrid at least ‘two or three times’ during his career.
Wenger enjoyed an illustrious career in football management and will be remembered for his stint with Arsenal, where he spent nearly 22 years.
Indeed, having taken over the reins at the north London club in October 1996, Wenger remained in charge until 2018, overseeing more than 1,200 matches as their manager.
Over the course of his stint at Arsenal, the 74-year-old was presented with opportunities to manage other clubs.
And, as it turns out, Real Madrid, too, courted his services on more than one occasion, but the Frenchman rejected their advances.
“I could have joined Real Madrid two or three times, and Barcelona once,” he said on beIN Sports.
This is not the first time that Wenger, who currently works as FIFA’s Director of Development, has openly spoken about Real Madrid making an approach for him.
Back in May earlier this year, the legendary former manager had said: “I turned Real Madrid down, I turned Juventus down, I turned Paris Saint-Germain down.”
While it is unclear when Real Madrid made an approach for him, Wenger showed incredible loyalty to Arsenal and decided to retire from management after bringing an end to his stint in the Premier League in 2018.
During his time with the north London outfit, Wenger led them to three Premier League titles and seven FA Cup triumphs.
Real Madrid summer signing set to return to training soon – report
Real Madrid’s main goal heading into the summer transfer window was to wrap up the signing of Jude Bellingham amid massive interest from Premier League giants such as Liverpool, Manchester City, and Chelsea.
Pep Guardiola’s City, especially, were ready to match and increase any salary Madrid offered, and were going strongly into the bidding war.
Eventually, Bellingham decided to join Madrid after they reached an agreement with Borussia Dortmund for €3 million.
However, following this, los blancos had to improvise a fair bit as Karim Benzema decided to leave the club to join Al-Ittihad on a free transfer. They were expecting him to continue for another season, at least, and it stumped their plans in the market.
In the next few weeks, Madrid chased forwards, and ended up signing Joselu, Brahim Diaz, and a certain Arda Guler, who was close to Barcelona before eventually ending up at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Unfortunately for Madrid, he is yet to play a single minute for the club after picking up a serious injury in pre-season. Despite being on the bench for a couple of games, Guler suffered a relapse in training, and was sidelined again.
Now, reports from Yagiz Sabuncuoglu say that the Turkish international is close to returning to team training.
Guler has slowly, but surely, been recovering from his injury, and could take to the pitch for his first minutes with the club in the next few weeks as Madrid look for solutions after a month full of injuries.
With Vinicius Jr, Eduardo Camavinga, Aurelien Tchouameni, Eder Militao, and Thibaut Courtois all out until early 2024, Madrid have relied on Castilla for reinforcements, but could do with Guler’s services in their forward line.
That said, Carlo Ancelotti and co. are expected to be extremely cautious when it comes to the Turkish international. The slightest spell of poor man-management here could make or break the youngster’s career.