Arsenal’s manager Arsene Wenger admitted that he’s sad about missing out on Kolo Toure’s brother Yaya after the star defensive midfielder was a step away from joining Arsenal.
“I have known him since he was 15,” said the Frenchman. “We had an agreement with him to come here but the problem was that he was at Beveren and we had to wait long enough for a European passport. Therefore he was impatient and went, at the time, to Metalurg Donetsk.
“It was quite interesting because his generation played for two or three years at Beveren – Yaya Toure, Eboue, Gervinho for example played there as well. They didn’t have one offer for all of these players and they played in the Belgian championship in the top league.
“All of the players have made big careers, for example, [Siaka] Tiene plays left-back for Paris Saint-Germain. But in two years there was not one offer for one player, basically because they were young and it is always difficult to make these kinds of decisions.
“At the time Yaya went to Metalurg Donetsk and now he is a top-class player. We knew that at the time he would be a top-class player but the only problem with Yaya was to fix him into a position because he can play everywhere.
“He can play centre-back, as a second striker, as a midfielder and for a long time we didn’t know where to play him. Incidentally he played in a pre-season game at Barnet [on July 19, 2003] as a second striker – and he was completely average on the day!”
Yaya may have been the biggest loss for Arsenal, but players like Coquelin or Frimpong still have the chance to prove that Yaya was not the only talented midfielder who wanted to join Arsenal at a young age and turned into a world class player.