According to The Daily Express, former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso was very open to the prospect of joining Arsenal in the summer of 2009 before eventually joining Real Madrid in a £30 million deal, according to former international teammate Cesc Fabregas.
The former Arsenal captain insisted that his former Spain teammate Alonso was keen to swap Anfield for the Emirates after his relationship with former Reds boss and fellow Spaniard Rafa Benitez had soured.
It came just 12 months after Benitez sought to sign Gareth Barry from Aston Villa as a replacement for Alonso – who was a Champions League winner at Anfield.
Alonso’s final season on Merseyside during the 2008/09 campaign which saw Liverpool narrowly miss out on the Premier League title to Manchester United despite an 86 points tally was by far his most influential in a Reds shirt.
Having clocked up 33-top-flight appearances as well as eight-goal contributions, Alonso eventually joined Real Madrid putting an end to a five-year spell on Merseyside in which he racked up over 200 appearances achieving club-icon status.
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But Fabregas revealed that two-time European Championship and World Cup winner Alonso wanted to link-up with the former Barcelona talent in north-London, but that Arsenal were unable to orchestrate a deal.
“He’s one. I was with Xabi on the phone the whole summer,” Fabregas told the Arseblog podcast of players the Gunners have missed out on in recent years.
“He was dying to come. He was literally begging everyone to go to Arsenal, he really wanted to come.
“And yeah, Xabi Alonso was one of them. I mean I was living it day-to-day because he was texting me all the time.
“I remember the whole holiday I was talking to him, he was texting me: “What’s happening?” And it was a shame, because I think he would have been a great, great, great addition to that team. He was made for Arsenal, I think.”
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Thankfully, a move never materialised and Alonso’s Anfield legacy remained in-tact.
Arsenal are notoriously known for being the victims of their own downfall in the transfer window and a similar scenario unfolded when the Gunners attempted to sign Luis Suarez from the Reds in 2013 after adding a pound to his original £40 million release clause.
Speaking with the ECHO recently, Alonso claimed that Arsenal fell £3m short of Liverpool’s asking price.
He said: “Yeah, he [Benitez] was open. He showed me his cards – very clearly.
“I said to him: ‘Of course, Rafa, I accept this. You are the one that has made the decision.’ But in the end, nothing happened.
“I was really close to Juventus and close to Arsenal, but Liverpool were asking for £18m, and they were both offering £15m! ‘So that’s why it didn’t happen.”