Financial restrictions following the move to the Emirates Stadium thwarted Arsenal making moves for Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois, according to former negotiator and Arsene Wenger confidante Dick Law.
The ‘transfer guru’ spent eight years at the club identifying and negotiating for transfer targets in north London.
Speaking to Goal.com, he revealed how Arsenal missed out on several big names during the Wenger years, including Real Madrid duo Courtois and Hazard.
Law is quoted as saying: “Did we miss out on talents? Certainly. I remember sitting in meetings with Steve, Ivan and Arsene and gnashing our teeth over Thibaut Courtois. We knew he was good.
“Eden Hazard as well, we wanted to do that deal. But there was a sense of responsibility and running the club prudently, all the time knowing that every £1 we spent we had to act as if it was our money. It was very, very difficult.”
Law was famously branded incompetent by Gunners legend Ian Wright upon announcing his departure from the club in 2017, with the Match of the Day Pundit blaming Law for the failure to land Luis Suarez during Arsenal’s unsuccessful pursuit of the Uruguayan in 2014, culminating in their much-ridiculed £40,000,001 bid.
The former CEO of Panamerican Sports Teams also spoke about the controversial departures from Arsenal in the years following the move from Highbury, with the club unable to compete in the transfer market.
The high-profile exit of Robin van Persie in 2012, which arguably drew the biggest ire from the fans, led to Manchester United’s title victory the following year.
Law said: “We did everything we could to keep Robin. He was 29 when he moved, he had a year left and wanted to do his very best in arguably his next-to-last contract – or even his last contract.
“In every case where we attempted in good faith to negotiate with players, we just couldn’t control all the factors. We knew how it looked selling to rivals but getting £24m for a 29-year-old was an important piece of business, it set us both up.
“You would have to ask him if his calculation worked out. Financially, it worked out for sure, but he ended up moving to Turkey and then back to Feyenoord. If he stayed at Arsenal I’m reasonably sure he would have gone down in history as one of the greats.”