Arsene Wenger explains why he doesn’t regret not signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Arsenal came close to signing a number of future superstars under Arsene Wenger.

The Frenchman had an eye for talent but wasn't always able to get deals over the line for some top prospects who went on to big things.

He was infamously beaten to the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo by Manchester United and was unable to tempt Lionel Messi to leave Barcelona.

But Wenger has no regrets over his decision not to sign a young Zlatan Ibrahimovich before he hit the big time.

The Swedish striker rejected a trial in north London as a teenager and Wenger has now explained why he still insists he was right not to offer him a contract without seeing him play.

Asked if he wishes he had signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic instead of inviting him for a trial, Wenger told BBC Sport : "Not really, because he was a 17-year-old boy playing at Malmo in the second league in Sweden. And nobody knew him.

"We gave trials to many players at 17 – it was absolutely normal before you make a decision."

Asked about some of the players he almost signed and if he wonders 'what if', he replied: Of course I think what if, for example, Cristiano Ronaldo played with Thierry Henry, [Robert] Pires, [Sylvain] Wiltord and [Dennis Bergkamp]. Maybe we score 200 goals in a season!

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"You regret sometimes, you think it's your fault that you didn't decide quickly enough or sometimes financially you couldn't agree quickly enough, but overall I must say you go to Chelsea, you go to Manchester United, you go to Liverpool… every club is full of stories like this."

Ibrahimovic has previously opened up on his rejection of a trial at Arsenal.

He told Sky Sports Italia in 2017: "I went to London for an appointment with Wenger, who asked me to audition for the Gunners.

"I told him 'I will not do a trial: either you take me or not, I'm not here to waste time'.

"I already had that kind of trust, because in my mind I was the strongest of all even when I was young.

"I met Wenger because I expected him to tell me to start with them right away. But Ibra does not test.

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