Arsene Wenger has failed to do a lot of things in the last decade or so. Winning the Premier League title will surely be up there at the top, though it is not the only one. The French manager has never been able to replace some of his top stars from the team that were unbeaten in the 2003-2004 season and earned the title of the “Invincibles”. This has been one of the major reasons for his failure to succeed in the top competitions across Europe over the years.
One of the main players in his squad back then was former skipper Patrick Vieira, who was eventually sold to Serie A giants Juventus back in 2005 and later to Inter Milan.
The French manager has not been able to replace his compatriot, who is currently the head coach of New York City FC after working with the reserves at Manchester City.
Here are five players that Wenger tried to sign over the years, in order to replace Viera, though he eventually failed to do so:
5. Michael Essien:
Though not many fans might not be aware of this interest possibly, there was a time when Wenger was plotting a move for Chelsea’s Michael Essien, who played a crucial part in Jose Mourinho’s initial spell in charge of the Blues. The 33-year-old Ghana international was instrumental in helping the west London outfit win a lot of titles during his time at the club and eventually left to join AC Milan after his best years were behind him. Arsenal wanted him for quite some time, though a deal never went through.
4. Sven Bender:
Another midfield superstar, who was quite similar to Viera and was linked with Arsenal was Borussia Dortmund’s Sven Bender. Though his brother Lars was also linked with the Gunners, it was Sven who could have played a similar role to the former France international. The ex-German international is now 27 and was a wanted man at one point in time in his career with the Premier League giants chasing him, as Wenger looked to fortify his midfield. However, a move did not happen and eventually the result was the same as always.
3. Yaya Toure:
One of the main players that made a huge difference in making Manchester City an English powerhouse was former Ivory Coast international Yaya Toure. The 33-year-old former Barcelona man moved to the Etihad back in 2010, though at that point of time he was wanted by Arsenal as well. The midfielder was expected to be offered as part of the deal which saw Cesc Fabregas move to the Nou Camp, though the move was not completed and he joined City instead to reunite with his elder brother Kolo.
2. Geoffrey Kondogbia:
Last summer was the time when Wenger could have really signed a few players and made a huge difference to his side’s chances of winning titles. The Frenchman was in the hunt to sign more mid-fielders and Geoffrey Kondogbia of AS Monaco was named as one of the potential targets. A fee of around £25m was what Arsenal were ready to make, as their rivals Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool were all in the hunt to sign the star from the Ligue 1 giants, who eventually ended up signing for Inter. Wenger had once again failed to deliver on his promise of adding more quality to his midfield.
1. Morgan Schneiderlin:
The player on top of this list is yet another Frenchman, Morgan Schneiderlin. The former Southampton man was on the verge of signing for the north London outfit last summer as well, though Wenger could not make a deal happen. Prior to his eventual move to Manchester United, the 26 year old defensive midfielder was linked with Arsenal, though a move did happen. The player himself had stated that he would have preferred a move to the Emirates, rather than Old Trafford, though for some reason Wenger was reluctant to pay the Saints’ asking price. Wenger’s compatriot could have made a huge difference to way the season did shape up, had he signed for Arsenal, who eventually finished second behind champions Leicester City.