In recent years Arsenal have become well known for having just missed out on young players who went on to be world stars.
You could, and in some cases people have, well make a starting XI of footballers that Arsene Wenger has publicly claimed he came close to signing during his time for the Gunners.
And now it seems as though they have another three players to potentially add to that list after former head of youth recruitment Steve Morrow revealed Arsenal came close to signing Jadon Sancho, Jude Bellingham and Christian Pulisic.
Morrow, who former played for Arsenal and scored the winning goal for the club in the 1993 League Cup final, was in charge of bringing young talent to the Emirates for nearly a decade before being replaced as part of Per Mertesacker’s academy shake up in 2019.
“Every top club will say there were near misses,” he told Goal.com.
“Jadon Sancho was certainly one of those. We missed out on him once when he moved from Watford and went up to Manchester City, and then again when he reached that age at City when young players have a choice to make.
“Jadon felt that his future was away from Manchester and we were very, very close to signing him, but the family felt at the time that the best opportunity for him was at Dortmund and off he went.”
Since that time Sancho has gone on to score 46 goals and register 60 assists in 130 appearances for Borussia Dortmund.
He was recently joined at the Westfalenstadion by fellow England international Jude Bellingham. The highly rated former Birmingham City youngster is viewed as one of the brightest prospects in world football after becoming the youngest English player to score in the Champions League this season at the age of just 17.
Morrow went on to add that he too came close to plying his trade in North London.
“There have been others,” he said. “Jude Bellingham was another one that was very similar to that.
“When he came to the end of his contract at Birmingham and was debating whether to stay there and sign a scholarship or move somewhere else, we were very close to that one as well.
“But sometimes it just doesn’t happen and you have to accept it.”
Another player Arsenal ended up losing out on to Dortmund was current Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic who Morrow admitted had trials in the club.
“Through our connections in the States, Christian was one that I actually had over at London Colney as a 14-year-old,” he said.
“He came in and did quite well, but he was small and underdeveloped physically when he came to us.
“I did see his potential but he was certainly behind physically in terms of the same age group with our boys.
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“I wanted to bring him back again, but it just didn’t work out and he went to Germany unfortunately.”
For now though Arsenal will be pretty happy with the young talent they’ve got coming through Hale End.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Joe Willock, Eddie Nketiah, Reiss Nelson, Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka, Miguel Azeez, Ben Cottrell and Flo Balogun have all contributed at first team level this season in what is currently something of a golden age for the Gunners’ academy.