Arsenal endured a seismic summer during 2013. The Gunners secured a deal with Real Madrid for Gonzalo Higuain, but the north London club became aware of the £40m release clause in Luis Suarez’s contract.
It led to the ridiculous £40m+£1 bid and a game of chicken which Arsenal ultimately lost. The Reds called in the PFA who agreed the contract didn’t require Liverpool to sell; in their opinion, it was a clause which required them only to tell Suarez of the offer.
Liverpool owner John W Henry later admitted, it was a release clause but they weren’t prepared to lose the Uruguayan to a Premier League rival. Suarez for his part didn’t push hard for the move and a year later went to Barcelona.
It emerged recently that the Gunners had another deal agreed for a striker, one which is coming back to haunt them as he blossoms into one of the most coveted players in world football.
Antoine Griezmann, 26, hasn’t forgotten how he was strung along by Arsenal and in his autobiography, tells the tale of why he will never move to the north London club. At the time, he was a little known French striker plying his trade with Real Sociedad.
According to the Daily Mail, Arsenal’s French scout Gilles Grimandi contacted the Basques about his compatriot. Griezmann writes:
“I waited, I waited, and I kept waiting. 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”.”
During 2013-14, Griezmann blossomed into a top-level striker, recording a goal every other game in his 53 appearances for Sociedad. Atletico Madrid stepped in a year later and he moved to the Spanish capital.
With the striker set to leave the Wanda Metropolitano next summer, Gunners fans can dream about what might have been.
The summer that promised Higuain, Suarez, and now Griezmann, but delivered Sanogo sums up the woes besieging the fallen Premier League giants.