Arsene Wenger says selling Ashley Cole was his biggest transfer regret

‘Selling Ashley Cole is my BIGGEST transfer regret’: Arsene Wenger admits his frustration at losing the legendary full back ‘because of a misunderstanding’ over cash – and seeing him flourish for Chelsea

  • Ashley Cole joined Chelsea from Arsenal in 2006 for £5m plus William Gallas 
  • Ex-Left-back said he was ‘trembling with anger’ at Arsenal’s renewal offer 
  • Cole went on to win the Champions League and Premier League in west London
  • Arsene Wenger said Cesc Fabregas leaving was inevitable but regretted Cole’s

Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admits the club made a ‘mistake’ in allowing Ashley Cole to leave the club for Chelsea in 2006.

The Gunners lost their academy product to Jose Mourinho’s then Premier League champions in exchange for £5million and French centre-back William Gallas. 

In his 2006 autobiography My Defence, Cole wrote that he nearly crashed his car and was ‘trembling with anger’ when he discovered the Gunners were only willing to pay him £55,000 per week.

Arsene Wenger (right) admits Arsenal made a ‘mistake’ in allowing Ashley Cole (left) to leave

Cole joined Chelsea in a £5m deal which also saw William Gallas head in the other direction

But he went on to win four FA Cups, the Premier League and the Champions League at Stamford Bridge, while the Gunners continued to lose big-name stars such as Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas within the next five years.  

And while admitting former Spain international Fabregas’ return to Barcelona in 2011 was inevitable, Frenchman Wenger – who left the Gunners in 2018 – insists he regrets losing the ex-England left-back ‘because of a misunderstanding over a few thousand pounds’.

‘The younger generation like Fabregas we lost earlier I would have loved not to lose him,’ Wenger – FIFA’s chief of global football development – told beIN SPORTS.

‘The player I think internally was a mistake to lose was Ashley Cole, because he was playing 9/10 years old for the club. 

Cole went on to win the Champions League while Arsenal continued to lose their best players

‘I knew that Fabregas, taking him away from Barcelona, at some stage he will want to go back.

‘But Ashley Cole came out of the club and I think there was a misunderstanding for few thousand pounds, you know and at the time, we speak about (Roman)  Abramovich. 

‘When he came into a game, Ashley Cole is one of the few players who developed even more, continued to develop when he left.’

Writing in his book in 2006, Cole said: ‘When I heard Jonathan Barnett (his agent) repeat the figure of £55K, I nearly swerved off the road. He (Arsenal Director David Dein) is taking the p*** Jonathan!

Wenger insisted Cesc Fabregas’ return to Barcelona in the summer of 2011 was inevitable

‘I yelled down the phone. I was so incensed. I was trembling with anger. I couldn’t believe what I’d heard.

Cole added: ‘I was young, naive, stupid, but it was something I felt I had to do.

‘The way I acted I was a little bit stubborn at the time. Maybe I should have sat down with a few more people at the time and gone through it with an ice-cool head.

‘I was a bit hot-headed and didn’t realise what I was doing at the time but I don’t regret it. When I look back now I think it was something that was maybe meant to happen.’

But he regrets Cole’s departure’because of a misunderstanding over a few thousand pounds’

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