Wenger: I could have signed Drogba for peanuts

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed he had the opportunity to sign Didier Drogba for the paltry sum of £100,000 early in the Ivory Coast striker's career.

The 31-year-old Chelsea striker, who netted the winner against the Gunners in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Saturday - his eighth career goal against Arsenal - began his professional career at Ligue 2 side Le Mans in 1998 before later switching to Guingamp and Marseille.

However, Wenger has said he could have bagged the powerful forward for as little as £100,000, only to decide against the move and watch him move to Guingamp for £80,000, Marseille for £3.3 million and Chelsea for £23.8 million, establishing himself as one of the most lethal front-men in world football.

“We watched Drogba very carefully when he was at Le Mans and his value was just £100,000, but we felt at the time he might not be completely ready,” he said. “Sometimes when you watch a striker playing in a scrappy championship game you can think ‘Yes, he has something but...’ “And don’t forget we had Thierry Henry at that time. “We continued to follow his progress, but suddenly he moved to Guingamp, then to the club of his dreams at Marseille and then on to Chelsea. “Looking back now, of course it was a mistake, but it is not just us who now have regrets. There were a lot of other clubs watching him then.”

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