Wenger on twice trying to sign Chelsea lynchpin Kante

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Arsene Wenger believes N’golo Kante’s presence in the centre of Chelsea’s midfield has been a defining factor in the Blues title charge this season.

The boss also confirmed that he has twice tried to sign the France international for the Gunners, first while the midfielder was at Ligue 1 side Caen and last summer, prior to his move to Stamford Bridge.

Speaking to the press ahead of tomorrow’s match with Antonio Conte’s league leaders, the boss also admitted he was surprised that Chelsea engineered a 13-game winning streak after their poor start to the season.

“When we beat them 3-0 I did not expect them to go 13-games unbeaten. I feel they found a better balance defensively. They are very good in transition. I watched their game against Liverpool and I believe N’Golo Kante had a huge impact in their team.

“Basically it’s not coincidence that they [Chelsea] are in the position they are and that Leicester were where they were last year. Also Hazard and Costa have come back to very strong form compared to last season so they are very efficient when they go forward.

He added: “Yes [we tried to sign him]. When he was in France, when he was at Leicester.

“We cannot explain absolutely everything [about why we failed to sign him], but it’s obvious when you look at where he has gone.

“I do not want to talk more about that. Transfer are transfers, you cannot explain absolutely everything.”

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65 Comments on "Wenger on twice trying to sign Chelsea lynchpin Kante"

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H

I think Wenger is trying to say he preferred the colour blue

Eastupper

Think you mean the colour green?

IamaGoober

I think whats been massively overlooked about Chelsea’s success this year has been their scheduling, they have no other competitions to worry about bar the domestic cups.

I think its no coincidence that they’ve managed to rack up a huge 13 game winning streak from late October, over the Christmas period to now. When the games really starting flying thick and fast. The other top 6 teams have all been competiting in Europe, travelling all over the place, managing the injuries from those trips and so forth.

Chelsea have not had to worry about any of that. They’ve been able to keep their squad fresh and consistently play the same starting 11 week in week out, which is huge in football. It really helps a team find their rhythm, and with each win the momentum rolls into the next game, and the next, and the next game after that and so on.

A prime example of this was the Arsenal invincible’s, Arsene basically played the same starting 11 every game and we finished the season as Champions without losing a single game.

I think had Chelsea been in the Champions League, or the Europa League, we would be much closer to them in points.

Radek

They won the league two years ago when they were in the CL by like 12pts.

Oberon

The comment literally references this year in the first line, 2 years ago is irrelevant.

Heavenly Chapecoense

The main reason for their 13-game winning streak is tactics. Hope Wenger vas the antidote for it.

Peter gooner

why don’t we take our chances and stop losing points where we should get some .i don’t buy oooh other teams have favorable fixtures ..

Stonroy

Wenger wouldn’t meet their asking price.

Poshcielny

Weird given how early we signed Xhaka. Especially if he had hopes for Jack.
How many midfielders can he have!?

Crash Fistfight

We could sure as hell do with another now.

catbiscuits

I dislike Chelsea, but don’t really see Wenger’s need to make snide comments about them.

Sean

I wouldn’t call it snide. Candid, yes.

In fairness I don’t think anyone would have predicted that streak from anyone in the league let alone Chelsea. I’d say Arsene was just as surprised as the rest of us so I reckon that was more of an off the cuff observation as opposed to a dig.

catbiscuits

I dunno, sounds like a dig (at Kante and Chelsea). Implies that money is the only reason someone would go to Chelsea over Arsenal, which to be brutally honest probably isn’t true anymore.

thw14

They finished outside the CL places last season we finished second.

It’s not at all a stretch that they offered more of a salary.

Stonroy

Yeah but they win titles. We don’t.

Kwame Ampadu Down

Agreed. We’ve heard this before from Arsene but just sounds childish & petty now.
a) aren’t we supposed to be able to compete financially now ?
b) I very much doubt Kante is on a much higher salary than (as an example) Xhaka, who cost 5m quid more so I can’t see how we couldn’t have afforded him.
c) Chelsea are top of the league, we’re not. Kante could very rightly claim he went there for football reasons.
d) Is Arsene suggesting we couldn’t compete with Leicester on salary when he left France too ?

In short : you could have signed him Arsene, you didn’t.

Cliff Bastin

a) yes but not quite at Chelsea’s oil money level
b) The 5M could have easily been dwarfed by a massive signing on fee plus all kinds of other progressive bonuses
c) He joined in the summer, giving up champions league football for a 10th placed Chelsea (or wherever the hell they finished, I can’t remember) in turmoil
d) Yes I agree with you on this.

Having said that he is a fabulous player that could probably waltz into the mega teams like Bayern or Barca which is more than we can say for our deep midfielders.

marje

(d) is top salt.

Clive St Helmet

What snide comments?

You do understand how press conferences work, right? The boss turns up, gives news updates then takes questions from assorted journalists. He doesn’t just walk in to a room and start spouting some shit about who he could’ve signed. He’s asked questions, he answers them.

I’ve got to say, the coverage of press conferences in the media generally is pretty poor.

Sorry

What kind of moron thumbs down a factual statement like the one you posted? Sigh, would hope we didn’t have such deplorables among us but that is wishful thinking.

Greg

🙁 diddums

Silent Stan

Money talks… or not in our case.

Ebo

It also talks in our case. It just doesn’t say nice things that players want to hear.

SB

Reasons for Chelsea is obvious but Leicester?

Anyways let’s beat them tomorrow.

Anthony

Perhaps at the time he signed for Leicester the promise of regular 1st team football was offered.

Can we categorically say that when we tried to sign him before he went to Leicester that we would have assured him an instant start in the first team? Xhaka didn’t even get that and we paid 30-odd million for him!

lol

Brilliant, then. Now Wenger can’t even pull the Frenchies to our club who have chosen to fuck off to rivals for more money.

Arsene Gonner

Is there anyone Wenger didn’t try to sign? And are we seriously expected to believe Kante would choose Leicester over Arsenal? He was obviously there for the taking, but professor dimwit preferred nobody or Coquelin.

Oberon

No he’s too busy getting Germans and Chileans..

Clive St Helmet

I think you’re underplaying the influence that agents have in player transfers.

One thing that has become obvious to me recently is that very often the player doesn’t really know where he’ll end up (see Pirlo’s book for example). His agent is working to maximise earnings (both for the player and himself) and part of his remit is keeping his client happy. If the player is particularly focused on getting plenty of first team football, it’s in the agent’s best interests to find a club that can offer that, or the player may look for a different agent.

Perhaps Arsenal couldn’t offer a guarantee of first team football (which would be understandable) and Leicester could?

Alex

And many forget how Mesut nutmegged him for our home game… Yeah, Özil bullied Kante… This is also something Monsieur Desailly has forgotten too…

Alexis dog..

Him and coq would have been the ideal paring.. He seems to always stay on his feet though.

Oberon

They’d just be stuck passing to each other!

Don

I can think of one pertinent reason why Arsenal were unable to sign him. Money. Clearly not willing to pay the stated price. In relative terms 30 million is not that much nowadays, I believe had we bought him last summer we would be on par with Chelsea.

Petit's Handbag

We would be miles ahead of them and everyone else. The guy is incredible

Crash Fistfight

What a load of old bollocks (no offence). We’d still not be doing as well as them. We do the same (more or less, points-wise) with different players every year.

It’s tactics, discipline and motivation that are lacking at Arsenal, not good players.

Bergkampf

No fucking idea why this post isn’t getting more love.
Kante is World Class. End of.
Sure, you need to play him with a real Passer of the ball, but his energy in midfield almost equates to an extra man.
And he’s smart. He doesn’t just ‘run around’ – stays on his feet, makes petty fouls rather than uncontrolled ones.

richard of York

Which top playerthen had Wenger not tried to sign?

Al Gilmore

Quite often we miss out on players due to agent issues. He hasn’t said it openly about this transfer but i know it has happened in other transfers. We refuse to pay sweeteners to agents where other clubs do. There are even agents we don’t work with – so will never get one of their players.

Mike

This is the correct answer.

Crash Fistfight

*cough* Jorge Mendes *cough* Mino Raiola *cough*

clins

xhaka and kante would’ve been ideal pairing. kante does the work and xhaha distributes the ball efficiently.

Fu ck modern football
Fu ck modern football

To people saying 30 million is not much nowadays…. I’m sick of you, that’s why the game is ruined nowadays, there’s no passion anymore, only wages. 30 million is ridiculous amount of money, getting paid more for a week, than the average person gets for a lifetime is a serious problem, this should be regulated. I stopped enjoying football several years ago.

Baz00r

£30 million was the transfer amount. Not his salary. Kante wouldn’t see a dime of that.

Oberon

They do get 10-15% of the deal

Arsene Gonner

It’s always been this way. The more money there is in the game, the more will be spent on wages and transfers. The correlation is due to the popularity of the sport. Personally, I don’t noticed a lack of effort or will from players at the majority of clubs, it’s just supporter jealousy and a stick to beat players with for their failure.

Ozil would still be lazy whether you paid him £1k a week or £300k a week, it’s his character that’s the problem. And Wenger’s inability to motivate the squad is nothing to do with how much they are paid. Look at Chelsea, managers make a difference.

Nikki

It’s probably the luxury of Chelsea unlimited cash than precisely the lure of wages.
With Xhaka bought and with Coquelin still in the team, we can’t afford the money and the space for Kante. It would be different if there’s no Coquelin or we have an extra 30 milllions plus his wages that we can spent freely to bring him to Arsenal.

Sean

Oh here we go. Cue yet another dull, pointless ‘Arsenal nearly XI’ from those marvels of football coverage at SkySports, which could also have been done about almost ANY OTHER top 6 team in England.

Sean

OMG, all that money and they’re still the most boring, predictable fucks on the Internet!
http://www.skysports.com/football/news/15118/10754260/arsenals-nearly-xi

Anteneh Ademe

Don’t want to hear you tried to Mr. Wenger. Two seasons ago Chelsea signed Fabregas and Costa to win the league and now about to win it again with Kante. I’ve noticed Wenger likes to be the genius who spotted the talent rather than signing the obvious proven player. Even Ozil was a reject and although Sanchez has been magnificent him and Ozil were signed because Wenger was under so much pressure.

Oberon

So wait Ozil was a reject but Fabregas wasn’t? Wind your neck in.

The 12th Gunner

It’s obvious we were being too cheap. Leicester was willing to spend more money then us to bring him to the prem. After he more than proved himself, Chelsea were willing to pay more than us too (no surprise there).

badaab

I really don’t see what the fuss over just Kante is- he’s one player in a very strong side who are performing to expectations given the profile of their players and coaching staff.
For me, Kante is just a slightly better Scott parker- he runs aaahround a bit but isn’t any huge improvement over coquelin. The major reason behind chelsea doing well in the league is the same reason why liverpool are doing well: lack of European football.

Sean

Still holding firm that long term Xhaka will be the far better singing than Kante. Though of course the modern media are so obsessed with immediate success and will only bleat about what a mistake it was to go for one over the other. Kante’s an upgrade over Coquelin, but Xhaka enables us to play a brand of football we’ve not seen since Fabregas was at the heart of our team (with added physicality too). Probably gonna continue to divide opinion here, but if you were to ask me which player I expect to have a ‘big match performance’ vs a team like Bayern out of Kante and Xhaka, then I’d go Xhaka all day long. As long as he irons out his (over-exaggerated imo) disciplinary issues, then we have a top class midfield lynchpin/leader for the next decade. And fuck it, never mind the long term, can’t wait until he’s back after the Hull City game.

Cyganmyster

So you fucked up again in the transfer market!! What is new?

Trez

Kante is great, but we needed a player of Xhaka skillset even more. Unless Coq or ramsey was sold, there was honestly no need to get both Xhaka and Kante

santori

Granit and Kante is comparing Apples and Pears.

Kante breaks up play like Coquelin.

Granit is more about the pass from deep (which Ox has shown a bit of capability)

In absence of Santi, we need Granit. He also has some defensive ability but the offensive pass is of equal importance.

If we were able to get Kante as well, it would have been great. I would have then sold Elneny. Hardworking player but at the moment brings nothing extra to the team.

Ramsey then becomes a luxury player who would serve as surrogate to Ozil.

Edzo

Why didn’t we just offer more? If we really wanted him we have the money. We have a billionaire owner.

spinner

Completely different situation with our billionaire owner.

Our owner (majority shareholder) doesn’t know too much about football. He bought shares in Arsenal to make money for himself. Everything else (such as winning trophies) is secondary to his primary objective of making himself richer.

Their owner bought the club as a hobby / toy. His primary objective is winning stuff and if that costs him a load of money doing so then that’s ok with him. That’s because he’s got more money than he knows what to do with, and seeing his plaything do well gives him pleasure.

Higihaga

He almost signed every player that turned out to be good, he almost won the champions League, he almost won the league again after 10 years of trying. Nearly man

Alexstratz

Another one of those “we almost signed a good player” moments?

Dawn

Don’t any of you goons know what confirmed means?

spinner

Shouldn’t your name be Yawn instead of Dawn?
Or maybe it should be TY? Next you’ll be telling us we lost against Watford because it was raining.

steve

“It’s obviously when you look at where he has gone now” means one of two things- he wanted a club with a better chance of winning titles or he needed more money than we could afford. Take your pick.

RaPa

What Wenger is saying is some managers look at the team and see if a player will make the team better and if so they go and pay whatever they can. His approach is is the player value for money. This is why we make decent enough teams but will never win the title again under him.

Sproing

Ozil – Xhaka – Kante would likely have been a beast of a middle 3. Ah well, coulda woulda shoulda.

Fingers firmly crossed for today!

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