Martin Keown has revealed that he still wishes that Arsenal had signed Manchester United striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
It’s become a well-known fact that Zlatan was supposed to sign for Arsenal back in 2000 but since Arsene Wenger wanted the striker to do a trial with the club before signing him, the Sweden international wasn’t impressed and turned him down.
“Arsene gave me the famous red and white jersey – the No 9 shirt with Ibrahimovic on it and I was so pleased I even posed for a picture wearing it,” Zlatan revealed in 2012.
“It was a fantastic moment for me. Arsenal had a great team then and here was an Arsenal shirt made just for me.
“So then I waited for him to convince me that I should join Arsenal. But he didn’t even try.
“He never actually made me a serious offer, it was more, ‘I want to see how good you are, what kind of player you are. Have a trial’.
“I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘No way, Zlatan doesn’t do auditions’.
“I thought ‘You either know me or you don’t and if you don’t know me you can’t really want me’.”
Skip to the present day and the 35-year-old is still on fire, scoring 26 goals in 38 appearances over all competitions for the Red Devils, prompting former Gunner Keown to lament Arsenal missing out.
“I regret that Zlatan Ibrahimovic never joined Arsenal,” he wrote in the Daily Mail.
“He visited the club in 2000 as a teenager and such was his physique and frame my team-mates joked that the Swede was coming to take my place at centre-back. Even then you could see Ibrahimovic had such a big presence. Now that he is thriving at Manchester United, the comparisons with Eric Cantona are inevitable.”
It’s hard to argue against Keown when you see the form that Zlatan’s managed to maintain throughout his career. The only issue is his arrogance, which Wenger would not have stood for, but it’s hard to say how that would or wouldn’t have impacted the team today.