Arsenal XI Gunners missed out on after Xabi Alonso "begged everyone" for move

Cesc Fabregas has spent some of football's downtime getting a few things off his chest.

The former Arsenal midfielder gave an excellent interview to the Arsecast podcast in which he detailed his frustrations during his time at the Gunners, which included the failure to attract top quality players to the club.

And one of those players was Xabi Alonso, who he says was desperate to join the Gunners towards the end of his time at Liverpool in 2009.

"I was with Xabi on the phone the whole summer," said Fabregas.

"He was dying to come. He was literally begging everyone to go to Arsenal, he really wanted to come.

"And to be honest, I did my best. I spoke to who I had to speak to. I gave my opinion, I thought that he was a fantastic addition for us at that time."

But it didn't happen, and Alonso isn't the only big name the Gunners have missed out on over the years.

In fact, here's an XI of them.

Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Buffon

The goalkeeping great confirmed that he had received an offer from the Gunners in an interview back in 2017.

“From what I know, there have been three serious times when English clubs made an approach for me," he said.

“Two of them were when I was a young player at Parma, and I know Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger asked about me – and then, when Manchester City was taken over, I know they approached Juventus.

“There are many reasons why none of the deals happened. Even though the Premier League is a special league, I have always wanted to stay loyal to Juventus."

Then he joined Paris Saint-Germain.

Defence: Gerard Pique

It was only in November last year when Wenger confirmed that Arsenal tried to bring in Pique as the same time they signed Fabregas.

He also said there was an enquiry for Lionel Messi which never went anywhere, so we're going to leave him out of the XI.

“We tried, we were not near to signing Messi,” Wenger told beIN Sports.

“But we tried to sign Pique, Fabregas and Messi, of course, we already tried but he was already too big at the time."

Defence: Vincent Kompany

It was 2008 when a young Kompany left Anderlecht for Hamburg on his way to superstardom, but he could have joined the Gunners before that.

"Arsenal were interested in Kompany," said Belgian's agent Jacques Lichtenstein at the time, via Sky Sports.

"Wenger made it clear that he wanted to sign Kompany to replace Sol Campbell, if he would leave the English giants."

Defence: Virgil van Dijk

It was the Dutchman's nonchalance which cost him a move to the Gunners, according to his former Celtic assistant manager John Collins.

“Arsenal’s chief scout [Steve Rowley] thought he was too nonchalant," Collins told beIN Sports last year.

“Maybe that was part of his game but he ticks so many of the other boxes.

“He’s got pace, power, balance, distribution and he’s good in the air.

“He can be a bit nonchalant but he is a quality player.

Defence: Roberto Carlos

The Brazilian legend famously declared that he wanted to join Arsenal when his Real Madrid contract was about to expire in 2007.

"I am ready to play in the English Premier League and know it will be suitable for me," he said, via Sky Sports.

"When my contract finishes that is definitely my priority and at Arsenal there are fellow Brazilians.

"I think as a club they are like Real Madrid – they have a supreme confidence that looks utterly unbreakable."

In the end he joined Fenerbahce and Arsenal became… breakable.

Midfield: N'Golo Kante

Gunners legend Wenger has admitted that he tried to sign two-time Premier League winner Kante twice. “When he was in France, and when he was at Leicester,” he said, according to the Evening Standard.

“I cannot explain everything but it is quite obvious when you look where he has gone,” Wenger said. “I do not want to talk about it, transfers are transfers. You cannot explain absolutely everything.”

Midfield: Xabi Alonso

Fabregas spilled the beans on this one last week.

"He was texting me all the time," he told the Arsecast podcast.

"I remember the whole holiday I was talking to him, he was texting me: 'What’s happening?' And it was a shame, because I think he would have been a great, great, great addition to that team.

"He was made for Arsenal, I think."

Midfield: Yaya Toure

While his older brother Kolo did sign for the Gunners, Yaya famously didn't despite undergoing a trial and playing in a friendly at Barnet.

Come on lads, he was right there.

Attack: Cristiano Ronaldo

Unlike the Messi story which always seems a little fanciful, Ronaldo has confirmed how close he was to the Gunners.

“It is true. Of course it is true," he told an ITV interview with Piers Morgan.

“Very close. One step. Seriously.

“It didn’t happen, but Arsenal, I appreciate what they did for me, especially Arsene Wenger. In football you never know where you are going to play, life is like that."

Isn't it just.

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