Ian Wright’s three “dream” signings for Arsenal – with only one joining

Ian Wright's three "dream" signings for Arsenal - with only one joining

Back in 2019, Ian Wright was asked to name three players he would love for Arsenal to sign.

His answers weren’t particularly shocking at the time, given the form of all three, but all of the players mentioned have since had to endure some notably difficult periods and the Gunners may be thankful they didn’t land the signature of all three, though they did fork out quite the sum on one of them.

Speaking to Mirror Football, the Arsenal legend explained: “Someone like Ben Chilwell. He is the kind of left-back who is getting better with every game. He’s an England international now. Somebody that I’m sure is going to be sought after.

“Then there is Youri Tielemans. He came over from Monaco. He’s on loan at Leicester City and he’s someone that – well there are loads of teams linked with him – but he’s someone that you’d want to have.

“And Nicolas Pepe at Lille. That kind of winger with his intensity, pace and skill. Those are the kind of players that are definitely going to improve any team if I’m totally honest. And they’re at the age where they are going to be there for a few years. So that’s a dream list if I’m being totally honest.”

Five years on, none of the aforementioned trio are exactly setting the world alight. Chilwell, who was at Leicester at the time of Wright’s claim, got a £45million move to Arsenal’s London rivals Chelsea in 2020 but has since seen his career littered with lengthy injury lay-offs.

His start for the Blues against Middlesbrough on Tuesday night was his first start in four months. Arsenal now have Oleksandr Zinchnko at left-back, an undeniably technically superior option even if he is more defensively fragile.

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Nicolas Pepe underwhelmed at Arsenal and left before the end of his contract


Nicolas Pepe underwhelmed at Arsenal and left before the end of his contract
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PA)

Tielemans eventually joined the Foxes permanently from Monaco and after several windows being linked with a move to Arsenal, he ended up at Aston Villa in the summer of 2023 on a free transfer. He has found minutes hard to come by at Villa Park, lasting the full 90 minutes on just two occasions in the league so far.

Having signed both Thomas Partey and Declan Rice in central midfield since Wright revealed his transfer wishlist in 2019, there are few members of the Arsenal faithful who are sitting around wishing that they landed Tielemans.

And of course, there’s Nicolas Pepe. The man that the Gunners spent £72m on for a five-year deal. In return, they received just 27 goals, with the Ivory Coast international sent out on loan to Nice for the 2022/23 campaign before leaving Arsenal altogether last summer with a year still left to run on his deal.

Nowadays, Pepe lines up for Turkish Super Lig outfit Trabzonspor, but he’s hardly hit the ground running there either. Having not completed 90 minutes for the club since November, the ex-Arsenal flop is unlikely to ever live up to the hype that greeted his arrival at the Emirates five years ago.

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