Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure: Passing up the chance to join Arsenal was a missed appointment in my career

The Ivory Coast international struggled to obtain a work permit in his early career, preventing him from a move to a Premier League club

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has revealed his regret at failing to sign for Arsenal, calling it a "missed appointment" in his career.

Toure was handed a trial at Arsenal in 2003 and featured in a pre-season friendly against Barnet which ended in a goalless draw. Arsene Wenger subsequently passed up the opportunity to sign the then 20-year-old, claiming the midfielder's performance during the match as "completely average".

“For me, England was the country of rhythm, speed, commitment and beautiful game, a country for me," Toure told L'Equipe.

"But I always wanted to go to Arsenal and this is the missed appointment in my career.” 

Toure also revealed his reluctance at joining Metalurh Donetsk, rather than Paris Saint-Germain, from Belgian side Beveren and admitted the inability to secure a work permit prevented him from signing for a Premier League club.

The lure of joining Arsenal was also increased due to Wenger's presence at the club, according to Toure. The Ivory Coast international had played under Jean-Marc Guillou, the man who had handed Wenger his first break in management at Cannes.

"It was a great disappointment," said Toure.

"There was a proposal from the PSG, but it was not done because the PSG would pay in several times. Donetsk paid in one. I had to accept. I was young and I wanted to try another challenge. I had a test at Arsenal, but I have not had the opportunity to go there because I could not get work permits.

"[In 2006] Lyon was manifested, but I dreamed of signing for Arsenal to rejoin my brother Kolo and Arsene Wenger, whose [Jean-Marc] Guillou is the spiritual father. But it did not. And I landed in Monaco."

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