7 players who rejected Man Utd to sign for Arsenal as Gabriel nears move
Arsenal are closing in on a deal for the Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes, who looks set to be the latest player to join a fairly impressive club.
Gabriel, a 22-year-old centre-back, has chosen to move to the Emirates Stadium despite interest from Manchester United, as he seems certain to become the latest big name to reject Manchester for North London.
Mikel Arteta will be pinning his hopes on the new arrival being an upgrade on the defenders that he currently has at his disposal, but things could have been very different for the Brazilian.
Manchester United's interest in him was real, but it was the impact of Gabriel's fellow Brazilian Edu – the Gunners' technical director – which ultimately swayed the deal Arsenal's way.
Will he go on to emulate some of Arsenal's other signings who turned down United?
Aaron Ramsey, 2008
It was June 3, 2008 when the United website excitedly announced: 'Ramsey fee agreed' on their homepage.
Had then you have clicked on the link you'd have read the following.
"United have agreed a fee with Cardiff City to bring talented teenager Aaron Ramsey to Old Trafford.
"The 17-year-old left-sided midfielder has yet to agree personal terms and must also pass a medical before any deal can be completed."
However, United's statement was a little premature.
Arsenal and Everton had also agreed that same fee with one of the brightest young British talents in the game, with the teenager having just featured for Cardiff in their FA Cup final defeat to Portsmouth.
Neither the Gunners or the Blues told the world that they were in the running for Ramsey though, and United were left looking a little foolish when the Welshman agreed to join Arsenal, later admitting he felt that Arsene Wenger "wanted him more" than Sir Alex Ferguson did.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 2011
He's picking up trophies with Liverpool these days, but Oxlade-Chamberlain turned down both the Reds and United when he was an exciting young player at Southampton.
The midfielder's dad, former England international Mark Chamberlain, revealed on Sky Sports' Goals on Sunday in 2016 that: "I had a phonecall from Sir Alex.
“I think Tottenham were interested. Liverpool, Arsenal, Man United, Tottenham. Not bad at all."
Oxlade-Chamberlain junior was appearing on the same show, and went on to explain why he picked the Gunners.
"I’ve always liked Arsenal and growing up watching the way they played and the whole feel of the club, it just seemed like something I’d love to be a part of," he said.
"I think obviously, Arsene, to be part of it, he is one in the process, he seemed like he knew the most about me.
"When my dad spoke to Arsene he seemed to have a vision for me and a bit more insight into where he thought I could go and what he wanted for me.
"That was almost like the icing on the cake and then from then on it was an easy decision."
William Saliba, 2019
He's yet to kick a ball for the Gunners but the excitement around William Saliba at Arsenal is real.
The 19-year-old is expected to come into the Arsenal side in the coming season, but things could have been very different.
A recent report from the Telegraph indicated that the French defender could have joined United back in January 2019, but the boyhood Gunners fan remained "focused" on playing for his childhood idols, and following in the footsteps of their long history of French players.
He's got a great chance to do just that.
Mesut Ozil, 2013
David Moyes could write an essay on the players he didn't sign for United in the summer of 2013, and Ozil was one of them.
In fairness, this one was really just as much about United rejecting the German as Ozil turning them down, with Moyes saying at the time that he ultimately didn't need a player in his position.
“We weren’t close to buying him but something was mooted a little bit before that,” he told us back in 2013.
“We didn’t need that position at the time. I didn’t even say it was an interest, it was put to us and it was just something at the time we didn’t need.
“We we had Shinji Kagawa and Wayne Rooney and people of a similar ilk so it wasn’t quite what we required at that time. We were looking at different positions.”
Do you believe him?
Nah, us either.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos, 2018
Time for another revelation from a player's dad.
Charalambos Papastathopoulos was talking about his son's move to Arsenal on Greek radio two years ago when he let slip that he had been wanted by Jose Mourinho at United.
“There was interest from United but he had to wait until July for them,” he said, in quotes carried by the Independent.
“United have a very good relationship with Dortmund, the teams talked but Sokratis chose to go to Arsenal.
“Arsenal had talked two years ago but I don’t know why he didn’t sign.
“He is going to a higher level, the world’s most competitive league and I believe he will do very well.
Alan Smith, 1987
These days he's a Sky Sports co-commentator, but there was a time when Alan Smith was a highly-prized forward.
He played for the Gunners for eight years, but he could have joined Ferguson's United in the Scot's first summer at the club.
"It was in my last season [at Leicester ] I heard of Arsenal's interest and United were also keen," said Smith, via the Express.
"Sir Alex called me up but I had already agreed to sign for Arsenal by then.
"I agreed to go back to City to finish the season on loan and I shouldn't really have agreed to that because Arsenal and Leicester had the best of both worlds.
"It was a bit awkward, especially when we had to go to Highbury and face Arsenal."
He got over the awkwardness though, eventually scoring 115 goals for the Gunners.
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Karl Hein, 2018
You know, Karl Hein.
The young Estonian goalkeeper is passing through the ranks at Arsenal at the moment, but he could have been a United player if it wasn't for the… Manchester traffic.
"I went to every club to show myself," he told the Estonian FA this year.
"I was at United for three days, in other clubs for a little longer. The first impression might have been deceptive, but it seemed to me that discipline and the organisational side, as well as other details, were at a higher level at Arsenal.
"In Manchester, for example, transport was always late, which is why I was late for training.
"The reception at Arsenal was very friendly and the club left a very good impression, because, let’s be honest, there was no difference in terms of level because both Arsenal and United are among the top in the world."
Will Gabriel be a good signing for Arsenal? Have your say in the comments
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