Arsenal were interested in Vagner Love – and approached him in 2006 over a move to the Emirates Stadium, according to the man himself.
The Brazilian became a recognisable name beyond his homeland with stories of his "playboy lifestyle" and his instantly distinctive blue braids, helping the Selecao to two Copa America victories and winning a UEFA Cup in 2005 with CSKA Moscow. Still playing at the age of 37 for Danish side Midtjylland, he could well still be on a list of Gunners' targets, since the north Londoners are in need of a striker this summer.
But during his pomp in the noughties, Love told FourFourTwo that he could well have signed for Arsene Wenger to become a Premier League star – and that he loved watching Thierry Henry once upon a time.
"A year after winning the UEFA Cup, we played Arsenal and they sounded me out about a possible transfer, but there was no concrete offer," Love told FFT.
"Portsmouth and Everton both made official bids, but the president was a tough negotiator and wouldn’t let me leave. The years went by and ultimately I didn’t get a chance to play in the Premier League. I’d have loved to because I’ve always watched it and can still remember Thierry Henry and Wayne Rooney starring for Arsenal and Manchester United."
With almost 50 goals in UEFA competitions despite playing all but a few months of his career outside Europe's top five leagues (Love spent the second half of 2015/16 at Monaco), FFT was keen to know whether the striker himself realised what a cult hero he'd become in certain circles.
"Not really! But to be able to play and still be involved in those competitions makes me feel glad," Love said.
"When I received the offer to join Midtjylland midway through this season, I was playing in Kazakhstan, having already featured in the Conference League group stage for Kairat Almaty. We were out, and I thought I’d have to watch the next round from the stands, but that wasn’t the case.
"I was part of the Midtjylland squad for both games against PAOK. It’s mind-blowing for me to think that it’s almost 20 years since I won the UEFA Cup with CSKA Moscow in 2005."
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Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. Over his time on the brand, he has interviewed the likes of Aaron Ramsdale and Jack Wilshere, written pieces ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career, and has been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals, working for FFT.
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