The legendary former Arsenal manager opened up about his biggest mistake.
Arsene Wenger has described letting Ashley Cole leave Arsenal in 2006 as the ‘regret of my life’.
Cole, an academy graduate, developed into one of the world’s best left-backs under Wenger. He made 228 appearances and was part of the team that won the Premier League in 2003/04 without a single loss.
Yet, in August 2006, Cole made a controversial move to London rivals Chelsea. Then, to Wenger’s dismay, went on to enjoy a successful career, helping the Blues win nine trophies, including the Champions League.
Speaking on the Seaman Says podcast, Wenger said: “I would say of the players who left Arsenal who had a very big career after Arsenal is Ashley Cole.”
“He was the only one who moved on and fulfilled his career and it was a regret of my life.
“Recently we had a meeting. I was glad he was in the meeting because he had a bad feeling and I had a regret that he left the club at the time.”
Wenger also admitted that Arsenal were on the cusp of signing Cristiano Ronaldo and N’Golo Kante during his tenure, but missed out on the chance.
That said, the Frenchman stated that missing out on players is part of the parcel of being a football club.
Wenger left Arsenal in 2018 after a 22-year spell. He led the club to three Premier League titles and seven FA Cup trophies, cementing his legacy as one of the greatest managers in the club’s history.