Arsenal’s four big transfer misses as £197m worth of talent eludes Mikel Arteta


Dusan Vlahovic is set to become the latest in a long line of near misses when it comes to Arsenal transfers.

Arsene Wenger amassed a list of some of the best to ever play the game – including Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi – who if things would have gone differently, would have turned out for the Gunners.

Under Mikel Arteta, Arsenal’s talents have been somewhat more conservative, representing their current standing both in the Premier League and in Europe.

But the failed pursuit of Vlahovic will particularly sting, having held lengthy talks with Fiorentina, only for the Serbian to now be edging closer to a move to Juventus.

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Arsenal target Dusan Vlahovic is set to join Juventus
Arsenal target Dusan Vlahovic is set to join Juventus

Arteta will now need to look elsewhere for a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the Spaniard is forced back to the drawing board.

But Vlahovic certainly isn’t the first player the Gunners boss tried – and failed – to sign, during his early years in charge.

The Arsenal boss is likely growing accustomed to missing out on his top targets – here’s a selection of the most high-profile ones:

Dusan Vlahovic – £63m

It doesn’t take too much digging to discover just why Arsenal were willing to break the bank for the 21 year old striker.

Vlahovic already has 17 goals in Serie A this season, following on from a campaign when he found the net on 21 occasions.

He is set to become one of the Bianconeri’s most expensive signings in their history, but if his progression continues along the same path, that will look a snip very quickly.

This could be one that Arsenal fans are left to rue for years and years.

Lautaro Martinez – £60m

Lautaro Martinez was on Arsenal's radar before signing a new Inter Milan contract
Lautaro Martinez was on Arsenal’s radar before signing a new Inter Milan contract

Links with the Argentine forward certainly got supporters excited during the summer window, having built a reputation as one of the most exciting talents in European football.

North London rivals Tottenham were also heavily linked, but hopes of signing the former Barcelona target were snuffed when he signed a new and improved deal with Inter Milan.

That deal will see him stay at the San Siro until at least 2026 and saw his value instantly skyrocket.

Emi Buendia – £38m

Emiliano Buendia has struggled to replicate Jack Grealish's form for Aston Villa
Aston Villa ultimately signed Emi Buendai from Norwich

Arsenal had initially found themselves at the front of the queue for the former Norwich playmaker, but were gazumped by Aston Villa, who had £100m worth of Jack Grealish money set to burn a hole in their pocket.

The Gunners went in a different direction, ultimately sealing a permanent deal for Martin Odegaard.

Meanwhile, Buendia endured a difficult start in the Midlands, before showing signs of finding his best form under new boss Steven Gerrard, netting the winner in last weekend’s 1-0 win over Everton at Goodison Park.

Ruben Neves – £36m

Ruben Neves of Wolverhampton Wanderers celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the Premier League match between Brentford and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Brentford Community Stadium on January 22, 2022 in Brentford, England.
Ruben Neves has been in fine form for Wolves this season

The Wolves midfielder has been a long-term target for Arteta, who neglected signing an established holding midfielder in the summer window.

Many believed Neves was a perfect replacement for Grant Xhaka when he looked destined to leave, only for the Swiss midfielder to complete a late U-turn.

But on the evidence of the first half of the season, missing out on Neves has proven to be a major error.

While Neves is spearheading Wolves’ unlikely top four push, Xhaka is continuing to frustrate with his maddening penchant for a needless red card.

Wolves likely value the midfielder significantly higher than the £36million fees mooted last summer, and his form is only driving that price up further.


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