Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says the club failed to complete a deal to sign Sunderland midfielder Yann M'Vila when the France international was at Rennes. The 25-year-old is currently on loan in the Premier League for the 2015-16 campaign, but his move into English football could have come several years earlier.
The Gunners were among a host of clubs regularly linked with a move for M'Vila, who is currently on loan from Rubin Kazan. But the holding midfielder remained in his French homeland before moving to Russia in January 2013.
M'Vila's reputation as one of Europe's most promising players was damaged by a series of off-the-field problems but he is currently attempting to rebuild his career in the English top flight. Wenger says he could have acquired the player earlier in his career, but Arsenal encountered stubborn resistance from his parent club Rennes.
"We were interested in him when he was in France and the year we wanted to bring him in, Rennes did not want to sell him," said Wenger in the Arsenal matchday programme prior to the 3-1 win over M'Vila's club Sunderland, according Sky Sports. "He had a few off-the-field problems, but it looks like now he's stabilised and he's of course a very good player who is a regular player in the national team in France."
Despite playing the full 90 minutes at the Emirates Stadium, M'Vila was powerless to prevent Arsenal completing victory over The Black Cats, with Olivier Giroud scoring for both sides either side of half time. Joel Campbell 's opener was cancelled out by Giroud's own goal, before the Frenchman netted a header from Aaron Ramsey's cross prior to the Welshman scoring late on to complete the win.
"It was very important to get the win after losing one game and drawing another and it was important to get back to winning ways and close the gap on the top and it was nice to do it at home in front of the fans," Ramsey said. "It is really close at the moment. Teams are taking points off each other so it is going to be tight all the way through and it is important to keep ourselves in the race for this busy time and into the New Year and it was a good way to start ahead of December."