Some senior figures at Arsenal had never seen a player so desperate to join the club as Xabi Alonso, but they never made the move happen.

Xabi Alonso
DUESSELDORF, GERMANY: Xabi Alonso of Muenchen looks on during the Telekom Cup 2017 match between Fortuna Duesseldorf and Bayern Muenchen at Esprit-Arena on January 14, 2017. (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)

The Guardian report that in 2008, Arsene Wenger had the chance to sign Xabi Alonso, then of Liverpool. Senior Arsenal figures reportedly pushed for the move, and some claimed they’d never seen a player so desperate to join.

Instead, Wenger opted to stick with the players he had. At the time, he had quite a few young midfielders with potential, the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Abou Diaby, Denilson, and Alex Song.

It’s just a shame only one of that group ever really came close to reaching that potential, and he left for Barcelona before joining Chelsea.

That was clearly something Wenger didn’t foresee, and it makes the decision on Alonso look a bit foolish in hindsight. Whilst Arsenal’s midfield talents were leaving or floundering, Alonso had many more years at the top of the game.

After Liverpool, Alonso had great success at Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. He won the World Cup and the Euros, and he retired with an enviable list of honours. It makes you wonder what might have been.

Alonso was also linked with Arsenal more recently, with some talk he might take an assistant role alongside Mikel Arteta. But the former Bayern man denied the links, and he continues to work as manager of Real Sociedad B.