Arsenal can add Jadon Sancho, Christian Pulisic and Jude Bellingham to their extensive list of ones that got away, a former club official has revealed.
Arsenal have infamously had a number of near misses in the transfer market over the last few years. During Arsene Wenger’s time in charge, for example, they could have signed the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe and Zlatan Ibrahimovic – only to see them become world-class stars elsewhere.
Now, former head of youth recruitment Steve Morrow has shed light on three more stars of tomorrow that could have been theirs.
He revealed that Borussia Dortmund duo Sancho and Bellingham were once on their radar. In addition, they were interested in Pulisic before he joined Dortmund – and then moved to Chelsea.
That may add to their long list of regrets. Sancho in particular has become a particularly valuable asset; Dortmund set an asking price above €100m last summer to fend off interest from Manchester United.
Morrow has now confirmed that Arsenal tried to lure Sancho during his youth career – and were very close to signing him when he left Manchester City.
“Every top club will say there were near misses,” Morrow told Goal.
“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.”
Sancho is not the only English player who has decided that a move to Germany is best for his development. Bellingham also joined Dortmund last summer.
The midfielder was another player Arsenal tried to stop going to the Bundesliga – but to no avail.
“There have been others,” Morrow 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.”
Arsenal missed out on Pulisic
A third player that Morrow revealed Arsenal could have signed was Pulisic. The American winger has established himself with their London rivals Chelsea instead.
It could have been a different story if the Gunners had been able to bring him into their academy.
“Through our connections in the States, Christian was one that I actually had over at London Colney as a 14-year-old,” Morrow 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.
“I wanted to bring him back again. But it just didn’t work out and he went to Germany unfortunately.”