As well as the signing of Nacho Monreal Arsene Wenger admitted that Arsenal got pretty close to grabbing another player on the last day of the window. However that player’s club refused to let the player go and the deal fell through.
So who was that player? It was assumed initially to be either Barcelona’s David Villa or West Ham’s Mohamed Diame, but now it appears that it might not have been either of them.
The Villa deal was quite possibly dead several days before the end of the window and although Wenger was making all the right noises about Diame it seems like he changed his mind about the player and didn’t actually make a bid for him.
One other theory that has been advanced is that Arsenal were close to signing Lorient forward Alain Traore but pulled out because the player sustained a thigh injury.
Several sources now claim that player that Wenger got close to signing was in fact Toulouse midfielder Etienne Capoue
The France international had been linked with a switch to England throughout January, with Everton and Fulham joining Arsenal in the pursuit.
And while Wenger landed Nacho Monreal from Malaga, he was also busy trying to sign Capoue but was thwarted as the Ligue 1 club refused to talk.
The 24-year-old’s agent Mino Raiola told L’Equipe: “The Toulouse president didn’t need to sell during this window. The asking price was a barrier every time.”
Well it certainly sounds plausible. Arsenal have been linked to Capoue for a long time. He is also exactly the type of combative midfielder the club needs to add some steel in front of the defence. Moving for Capoue would also explain why Wenger suddenly cooled on Diame.
In fact he must have been very keen on Capoue as he would have probably cost twice the amount that Arsenal would have paid West ham for Diame.
Ultimately though the failure to sign anyone – part from the excellent emergency left back – is a poor reflection on the Gunners’ management team. To have 31 days to sort out reinforcements only for the deal for your favoured player to be scuppered on the last day because the player’s club don’t actually want to sell, sounds very poor planning