Wright came close to joining Chelsea

Arsenal legend Ian Wright came close to leaving the Gunners for London rivals Chelsea, according to his agent.

The Highbury marksman, who netted a then club record 185 goals for the North London club, has revealed his relationship with former boss Bruce Rioch had deteriorated from the first day they met to the point where he considered submitting a transfer request.

However, the arrival of Arsene Wenger as manager in 1996 convinced him to stay on at the club until 1998, before going on to play for West Ham, Nottingham Forest, Celtic and Burnley.

“The first time I met him was in the corridor at Highbury, it was really strange and it will always stay with me," he says on the Ian Wright: Legend DVD.

"We said hello, we shook hands, and he did one of those funny shakes. And I thought 'what is all that about?' That stuck with me and we just didn't get on. That was the most civil conversation we had.

“When we had our first game at Borehamwood or St Albans, and we were having a laugh with the fans, just getting fit. I wasn't bothered about scoring goals, I didn't want to get injured, but I wanted to get sharp.

"We go off at half time, and he comes in and says 'what am I doing? Giving it the big time Charlie.' I can't say what I actually said, but it took me by surprise.

“The season went on and we had more and more arguments, and I said to my agent I have to put in a transfer request."

And Wright's agent, Jerome Anderson, revealed on the DVD that the striker was on the verge of a move to the Gunners' fierce city rivals Chelsea prior to Rioch's departure from Highbury.

“It was a very difficult time for Ian, because the very thought of him considering leaving his beloved Arsenal was unthinkable," he said.

"But the realationship between Bruce and Ian got to a stage when he actually handed in a transfer request, which was a very emotional time for him. And he was very close to leaving and going to Chelsea."

NEWS: Lee Dixon: Arsenal should ditch Adebayor

ARSENAL FANS! Check FourFourTwo.com’s ever-expanding interviews archive for more stuff to read:
Web Exclusives Patrick Vieira, Cesc Fabregas
Q&A Theo Walcott, Cesc Fabregas
One on One Arsene Wenger, Thierry Henry, Ian Wright
Boy's A Bit Special Theo Walcott, Armand Traore
Perfect XI Ian Wright
What Happened Next? Gus Caesar, Peter Marinello
And Another Thing Being a Big Four fan

Plus! Rate Arsenal players (and others) on Talentspotter