Arsenal ‘would have signed Antoine Griezmann’ but missed out after failure to qualify for the Champions League
Arsenal’s failure to qualify for the Champions League appeared to have cost them the chance to sign Antione Griezmann in 2017.
Under Arsene Wenger, the Gunners missed out on the final day of the season to Liverpool for a top-four spot and the fallout saw them denied a chance to significantly strengthen for the following campaign.
According the Athletic, a deal looked set to be done for the summer if they could have maintained their top-four status.
Antoine Griezmann currently stars for Barcelona but could have lined up in an Arsenal shirt
‘I was told that if Arsenal had qualified for the Champions League in 2017 they would have signed Antoine Griezmann, but missing out for the first time in 20 years ended their hopes on that one,’ David Ornstein said on The Athletic Q&A session.
At the time Griezmann was already well known among elite clubs following an impressive Euro 2016 the year before with France and an impressive 26-goal haul with Atletico Madrid.
Griezmann, by 2017, was a long-term target for Wenger, with the forward revealing his former agent Eric Olhats had been in contact with Gunners scout Gilles Grimandi from as early as 2013.
However the Gunners’ failure to qualify for the Champions League in 2017 denied them them the chance to sign Griezmann while he was still at Atletico Madrid
Griezmann had been a long term target under previous Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
The current Barcelona star even admitted he was keen to speak to Wenger, only for Arsenal to hesitate before pulling out of talks.
‘I waited, I waited, and I kept waiting,’ he recounted in his autobiography.
‘When there was no news, Eric called Grimandi, who said that the manager was still interested in me [and] to keep waiting.
‘Finally a few hours before the market closed, he let us know Arsenal would not make a move. I don’t like to be told something and for it not to happen.
‘So when Eric told me later that the London club were interested again I told him “Forget it, after the blow they gave us”.
Over the years, Arsenal have missed out on signing the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Luis Suarez and Gonzalo Higuain.
Prior to the summer of 2017, Griezmann had enjoyed a 26-goal season at Atletico Madrid