May 23 2013 Latest news:
By James Cunliffe
Friday, February 15, 2013
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger saw Gareth Bale fire two free-kicks as arch rivals Tottenham beat Lyon last night but says he has no regrets about failing to sign the Welshman at the same time he took Theo Walcott from Southampton.
The Spurs ace scored both goals in their 2-1 Europa League win, the second a late winner in the final seconds as his remarkable season continued.
The Gunners boss has twice raided Southampton in recent years, taking Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in 2011 and five years before that opting for a 16-year-old Walcott over Bale, who was then a full back.
Asked if there was a tinge of regret about missing out on the player who has since transformed into a top class winger Wenger said: “Look, if I tell you the number of players that we did not sign and should have signed, you will be amazed.
“It’s the same for every single club – you miss players.”
He added: “It was Walcott and Bale. We were, at some stage, maybe taking the two, if possible.
“We could get Walcott and I’m very happy that we got Walcott.”
After last night’s victory at White Hart Lane, Lilywhites boss Andre Villas-Boas said his charge was, on current form, in the same bracket Cristiano Ronaldo.
Wenger, however, says it’s too early to compare the Spurs star as the British answer to the Real Madrid hero or Barcelona’s Lionel Messi
“I wouldn’t go as far as that,” the Frenchman said. “He has the potential to develop and become [like] the players you compare him to.
“Ronaldo and Messi – Messi has won two or three Champions League, a few championships, scored 95 goals in a year – let’s not go too quick.
“You’re always very quick here [in England]. Let’s slow down a little bit.”