Arsene Wenger has revealed one of his regrets as Arsenal manager is not signing Michael Carrick when he had the chance.
The Manchester United midfielder, whose testimonial finished 2-2 on Sunday, was linked with the Gunners in 2004 but they were beaten to his signature by north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
Wenger told Arsenal’s website that he has long been a fan of Carrick’s game, and would have loved to manage him.
“One of my regrets is never having had him as a player because I think he was one of the greatest players in English football,” said the Frenchman.
“I would say personally I’m an admirer of his career, of his quality.
“I wish him all the best for the future.”
The 67-year-old, who recently signed a two-year contract extension, also expressed his belief that Carrick has always been underrated:
He added: “I believe as well that he did not always get the reward and the tribute, the recognition he deserved.
“I give Michael my deepest congratulations for his testimonial.
“I think he deserves it hugely.”