Ahead of Arsenal's trip to West Ham on Saturday, Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that he came close to signing Dimitri Payet before he joined the Hammers, but ultimately decided against it.
Free-kick king Payet has been one of the standout performers in the Premier League this season.
In his press conference today, Wenger said that he had looked at Payet "many times" when the player was at St Etienne nine years ago, but felt he had enough creative players in his team at the time.
"I have watched him many times," Wenger said. "I have known him for a long, long time. When he played at St Etienne he played there for a few years and we watched him many times. He has all the attributes to be a top, top player and is that in fact.
Scroll through the gallery below for a whole XI of players Wenger tried to sign for Arsenal...
"He is 29-years-old already, but this season he has matured a lot as he has come back into the national team when he looked to be out. That shows he has been much more consistent.
"He has always had top talent, even when in periods he has been a bit up and down. But he has been very consistent."
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