Former Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has opened up on the conversation with Arsene Wenger that saw his move to Arsenal collapse after having already posed with the club’s number 9 shirt.
The former Swedish international was undoubtedly one of the greatest strikers of his generation.
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The 42-year-old played for top clubs in Europe in the past including Barcelona, PSG, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Ajax and Manchester United.
He is often touted as one of the greatest players to have never won the UEFA Champions League, which evaded his grasp throughout his career, despite winning 12 league titles and scoring over 570 senior career goals.
However, Ibrahimovic has now revealed how he came close to a move to Arsenal from Swedish side Malmo at the start of his rise to the top at the age of 17.
Explaining the reason why a switch to the Premier League North London club never materialized, Ibrahimovic said on Piers Morgan Uncensored: “When I was young, I had a lot of interest from a lot of clubs, and one of them was Arsenal.
“So, I came to the office of Mr Arsene Wenger, and it was a big hype because I saw these players, [Dennis] Bergkamp, [Thierry] Henry, I saw [Freddie] Ljungberg, I saw [Patrick] Vieira, I saw all these players, and I was like “F**k, this is big”, because these players I see on TV, even if I already played in high-level Sweden.
“But this was big, because this was like, “I am here now”. Last week I was playing PlayStation with these guys. And I spoke with Wenger, he was tall, I didn’t expect him to be so tall.
“I came into his office, and we spoke, and he was like, “What do you want?” He wanted to get to know me, to feel me. Because I think he is a type of person, he just doesn’t buy the player, he wants to know what he is buying I think. In the end, he had an Arsenal shirt with Number 9 and, “We want you to come and do a trial for two weeks.”
“Everything was good until he said you come and do a trial. I was looking at him. Obviously, he is Wenger, I am nobody at that moment. I said, “I don’t do trials”, and he was like, “What do you mean?”
“I don’t do trials, either you want me or you don’t want me, or else why am I here? That was me, but it was not to play a game, it was me. “No, but you have to come and do a trial” and then, “No, no, you don’t understand, I don’t do trials”. That was it, I never went to Arsenal.”