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Moroccan forward Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez revealed Arsenal tried to sign him in 2011.
Once regarded as one of Europe’s brightest talents, Gonzalez was in the middle of a tug-of-war between Belgium and Morocco, who both wanted him to represent them.
It wasn’t just the two nations who were battling for the winger’s services, clubs were also keen to sign him and it has emerged that Arsenal were one of the clubs who wanted him.
According to Sports Witness via the Daily Cannon Arsenal wanted to sign the winger back in 2011.
Wenger identified him as an alternative to Eden Hazard who we were trying to sign him at the time.
Hazard didn’t leave Lille that summer, staying an extra year before joining Chelsea but Arsenal didn’t sign Gonzalez either. He instead joined Anzhi MaKhachkala who were big spenders at that time.
Speaking in a recent interview, Gonzalez recalled what happened that summer.
“In 2011, that was the time when I was hesitating between Belgium and Morocco. I’d received quite a few offers from Arsenal, Marseille and Benfica. Vicente del Bosque, Spain’s manager at the time, asked me to have a test with Spain’s U21s,” he told Sport/Foot (via Sport Witness ).
“Real Madrid put a lot of pressure on me to choose either Spain or Belgium because they don’t like players leaving midseason for the Africa Cup of Nations. Negotiations were underway, then the accident happened.”
Arsenal’s search for a winger eventually led us to Gervinho. The Ivorian failed to impress before being moved on to AS Roma while Gonzalez spent two years at Anzhi before returning to the Belgium Super League.
Gonzalez career may have taken a different path had he decided to move to the Emirates when he had the opportunity to.