David Dein has shared the story of he signed Ian Wright from Crystal Palace.
The story was told during a segment of the Rocky and Wrighty documentary which you can watch below.
In it, Dein shares a phone conversation with Ron Noades in 1991, who was then chairman of Crystal Palace and an acquaintance of Dein.
“I rang Ron up. I had to be a bit careful, because Ron knew the value of everything. So I said ‘Ron, we could be interested in one of your strikers’,” Dein said.
“He said ‘who?’ ‘Well either Mark Bright or Ian Wright’ – we really wanted Ian – and he said, ‘no, there isn’t a price’. ‘Give me a figure’. He said: ‘£2.5m’. So there’s a pause, and I said, ‘Ron, I’m offering you two-and-a-half million, and I know you’re man of your word.
“There’s silence at the other end of the phone. He said ‘okay David, done’. And to his credit, we did the deal.”
The famously straightforward negotiation was a hallmark of David Dein’s time at Arsenal.
He was famed for being able to secure the exact players that Arsene Wenger asked for with minimal fuss.
Many feel the club still miss him and that style of negotiation, with every deal Arsenal ends up involved in feeling like a very long and dragged out process.
At the time, £2.5m was a club record fee. Nowadays, that would buy you one Rob Holding, or around 5% of Alexandre Lacazette.
Wright went on to pay-back his transfer fee and then some, scoring 185 goals in 288 appearances.
He became the club’s record goalscorer in 1998, and helped Arsenal to two FA Cups, the League Cup and the Premier League title before leaving the club for West Ham in 1998.
Dein, meanwhile, remained as Arsenal vice-chairman until 2007 before departing the club and selling his shares to Alisher Usmanov.