The Gunners manager was candid about his attempts to sign the Ivorian from Beveren and said he expected the former Barcelona midfielder to become a world class player
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has discussed how he came close to signing Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure when he was just 15-years-old.
The Ivorian switched to the Etihad Stadium in 2010 from Barcelona, but the French coach revealed the midfielder nearly played in the Premier League much sooner.
Toure, whose brother Kolo became captain at the north London club before leaving in 2009 for the Citizens, had agreed to join the Gunners according to Wenger.
“I have known him since he was 15,” Wenger told reporters ahead of his side's visit to Eastlands on Sunday. “We had an agreement with Yaya to come here, but the problem was that he was at Beveren and we had to wait long enough for a European passport.
“Therefore he was impatient and went, at the time, to Metalurh Donetsk. Now he is a top-class player. We knew that at the time he would be a top-class player but the only problem with Yaya was to fix him into a position because he can play everywhere.”
The Gunners boss also commented on the 28-year-old's versatility on the field, admitting he was at first unsure of his best position.
“He can play center back, as a second-striker, as a midfielder and for a long time we didn’t know where to play him," Wenger said. “He played in a pre-season home at Barnet as a second striker – and he was completely average on the day.”