Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has revealed he wanted to join Arsenal after leaving Old Trafford, but Arsene Wenger rejected his offer.
The former England international was on the hunt for a new club in 2014 after his contract with Man Utd expired, and he believed a move to Arsenal could have helped revitalise Wenger’s dressing room after several seasons of stagnation in north London.
However, Arsenal’s legendary coach passed up the chance to bring Ferdinand to the Emirates which, on reflection, the ex-defender has agreed was the right call after he went on to struggle at Queens Park Rangers, whom he made just 11 Premier League appearances for as the club finished dead last in 2014/15.
After that season in Shepherd’s Bush, Ferdinand called time on his playing career, bringing the curtain down on a glittering two decades in the sport, but he could have enjoyed one last hurrah in the Champions League and won a first-ever FA Cup if Wenger accepted his transfer plea.
“The maddest thing is I thought about [joining] Arsenal,” Ferdinand told his FIVE YouTube channel.
“I said, ‘Arsene, listen, I am leaving Man United and if you want, I will come and try and help the dressing room etc. because I think you need help in that department. I will obviously play but, more importantly, I will come for the culture’.
“He didn’t take me up on the offer and he was right because my performances at QPR weren’t up to the levels.
“But in the changing room, I believe I could have helped him, because that is where a lot of the culture derives from.”
Ferdinand: Arsenal’s current transfer strategy is all wrong
Although the Gunners may have got it right when they spurned the opportunity to sign Ferdinand, in his view, he believes the club’s current recruitment policy is not as savvy as it once was, with the iconic pundit suggesting Mikel Arteta needs to sign a defender who, first and foremost, can defend.
He continued: “The issue I have with Arsenal is you can’t buy players for a year down the line.
“Ben White is good now but what you need is someone to come in and grab the players in the training ground.
“I feel that at this stage of his career, Ben White needs a partner to bring him a lot, like a Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane or Thiago Silva.
“Arsenal have needed a centre-back to come in and defend. If I’m him I’m thinking, ‘I need some help, I’m getting exposed’.”