This article forms part of our The Ones That Got Away feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern take a look back at players linked with moves in the past, and see how they would have made an impact had they signed for the interested side.
Back in the summer of 2015, Arsenal were a team hunting the title. With the financial shackles imposed on the club due to their move to the Emirates Stadium seemingly swept away following the club-record buy of Mesut Ozil some two years prior, the Gunners had started to flex their economic muscle as they threatened to top the English pyramid.
While their campaigns in 2013/14 and 2014/15 ended in Premier League disappointment (despite season-ending FA Cup triumphs), Arsenal had welcomed the big-money additions of Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, though to no avail in pursuit of title glory.
Having gained one place following the addition of the Chilean, an onslaught on the summit was surely within the Gunners’ reach. The acquisition of Petr Cech may have been a big-name arrival in the off-season but he remained their priciest incoming at £12.6m – after failing to bring in Marco Reus that same summer.
According to Sport Bild (via Sport Witness), the Gunners were prepared to spend £48m on the Borussia Dortmund winger, before he decided to stay in Germany.
The approach for Reus made sense from Arsenal’s point of view; the club were short of solid, top-class wide options in attack, especially with the likes of Sanchez and Theo Walcott filling in at centre-forward throughout their Gunners careers.
But for whatever reason, Arsene Wenger’s backup plan seemed to be relying on Joel Campbell and the emerging talent of Alex Iwobi to fulfil a position that was essentially neglected as Arsenal struggled for consistent results in the title run-in that year.
Their unsuccessful approach for Reus had broken a recent trend that saw Arsenal substantially add to their squad – and in a year where champions Chelsea went into meltdown while both Manchester clubs were far below-par, a rather standard season in terms of points for the Gunners (just four fewer than the previous campaign) saw them relinquish the opportunity for a first title in 12 years to Leicester City.
Still, he netted 23 times that season.
With that in mind, the 2015/16 season arguably remains one of Arsenal’s biggest ‘what if’ moments in recent memory – and the failed pursuit of Reus may, in hindsight, stick out as a potential turning point as they were unable to bring the title home.
Would Arsene Wenger do a better job than Unai Emery?
Arsenal fans, would Reus have been a success at the club? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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