For the sake of £3m, Arsenal continued with Denilson in midfield instead of landing Xabi Alonso.

  • Arsenal offered £15m in 2008 but Liverpool wanted £18m for Xabi Alonso
  • Spanish midfielder won nine club trophies as well as the World Cup and Euros after leaving Anfield in 2009 for £30m
  • Arsenal stuck with Fabregas, Song, Diaby and Denilson

Xabi Alonso could have been an Arsenal player but for £3m.

The Spanish midfielder has revealed that Arsenal wanted him, as we know, but they came in too low compared to Liverpool’s valuation of the player.

Arsenal made a deadline day bid for the player in 2008 and although Liverpool were insistent he was not for sale, manager Rafa Benitez, would have sold him for a few pennies more.

“I was really close to Juventus and I was close to Arsenal,” Alosno told the Liverpool Echo. “But, it was just £3m. Liverpool were asking £18m and both offered £15m – so that’s why it didn’t happen.”

Bayern Munich's Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso reacts during the UEFA Champions League round of sixteen football match between FC Bayern Munich and Arsenal in Munich, southern Germany, on February 15, 2017
Xabi Alonso’s life could have been very different if Arsenal hadn’t been so stingy (AFP / Christof STACHE)

At the time, Arsenal had Cesc Fabregas, Abou Diaby, Alex Song and Denilson as their central midfield options and even in 2009, £3m wasn’t really all that much – Arsenal spent £4m on Sebastien Squillaci the following summer.

That is, of course, annoying for Arsenal fans. It wasn’t so great for Liverpool ones either – Benitez wanted to sell Alonso so he could buy Gareth Barry.

Luis Suarez

Arsene Wenger also revealed this week that Luis Suarez wanted to join Arsenal. He told beINSports: “He was very close (to signing for Arsenal). We had an agreement with the player. We had been wrongly advised that he had a clause, with a minimal clause, but we had an agreement with the player. You can ask him.

“I’m convinced he wanted to join us and then they sold him. They kept him one more year, improved his contract and promised to sell him the year later to a club abroad.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 02: Luis Suarez of Liverpool reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Liverpool at Emirates Stadium on November 2, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Another Liverpool player who could have moved to Arsenal – but this time it wasn’t Arsenal’s fault (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Liverpool owner, John W. Henry, has already admitted that the clause in Suarez’s contract did exist, Liverpool just decided to ignore it. In 2014, Henry said“He had a buyout clause of £40m. Arsenal, one of our prime rivals, offered £40m plus £1. What we’ve found … is that contracts don’t seem to mean a lot in England – actually, in world football.

“It doesn’t matter how long a player’s contract is, he can decide he’s leaving. We sold a player, Fernando Torres, for £50m, that we did not want to sell, we were forced to.

“Since apparently these contracts don’t seem to hold, we took the position that we’re just not selling.”

Since then, Steven Gerrard said Suarez didn’t even want to go to Arsenal and the player himself said he would have regretted the move and Gerrard told him not to join Arsenal.

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.