Tuesday, May 28News That Matters

Arsene Wenger admits selling Ashley Cole to Chelsea was a huge mistake

Arsene Wenger had admitted Arsenal made a ‘mistake’ by selling Ashley Cole to Chelsea in 2006.

Cole, who is regarded as one of the Premier League’s best-ever left-backs, came through the academy at the Emirates and made his first-team debut at the age of 18.

After helping the Gunners win two Premier League titles and three FA Cup trophies, Cole was left unhappy with Arsenal’s offer of a new contract, which paved the way for his move to Chelsea.

Arsenal had initially demanded £25m for Cole but the defender ended up joining Chelsea for £5m, while William Gallas moved in the opposite direction to the Emirates as part of the deal.

And Wenger has now suggested that Arsenal should have done more to keep Cole at the London club.

When asked to name the player he would’ve liked to have re-signed during his time at Arsenal, Wenger told beIN Sports: ‘Well, I would say personally, most of the time, the players gave us seven, eight, nine years and left after.

‘The younger generation like [Cesc] Fabregas we lost early and would not have loved to lose him. ‘The player I think we, internally, it was a mistake to lose was Ashley Cole.

‘Because he was playing at nine, 10 years old for the club. I knew with Fabregas that taking him away from Barcelona, at some stage he’d want to go back to Barcelona.

‘But Ashley Cole came out of the club. I think it was a misunderstanding over a few thousand pounds.

‘At the time, we spoke about [Roman] Abramovich when he came into the game, Ashley Cole is one of the few players who developed even more and continued to develop when he left.’

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