Swedish midfielder Kim Kallstrom has lifted the lid on his shock loan move to Arsenal in 2014. The 34-year-old star joined the Gunners on a six-month deal from Spartak Moscow, despite his serious injury troubles.
Kallstrom, who was signed as cover for the injured Jack Wilshere, revealed that although his medical discovered he was suffering three damaged vertebraes in his back, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger still decided to conclude the move.
"I'm put in a situation that reminds me of a talent show," he told a Swedish radio station of the bizarre circumstances surrounding his switch to Arsenal, according to The Mirror. "I'm standing in front of a jury with a CD of my X-ray images and bad posture.
"The physician lays down the facts. There's silence in the room. Wenger hasn't said anything. He hasn't even looked at his colleagues as they inform me of their logical verdicts.
"He thinks for himself. I wait for him to say something. He sighs and says, 'The transfer windows shuts in a few hours. It's impossible to find a replacement. Either I take you or no one.'
"Surprised, the others turn to the big boss. No one knows how he'll continue, but they know that his words are law. Wenger decides. 'You'll stay, heal, and train. I'll take you when you're fit.'"
Despite this, the former Arsenal loanee insisted Wenger has the complete respect of everybody at the North London club. "One day at the gym, Wenger stops by. When he enters a room everybody sort of stops, as if they're waiting for a signal," he said of the Arsenal boss.
"He has that effect on people. I keep peddling on the exercise bike. Wenger is watching with his French, slightly casual, yet serious, gaze. We small-talk and we're on the right track. I felt like I was building confidence with the leader, without having kicked a ball yet."
Kallstrom only made four appearances for the Gunners, but scored a crucial penalty kick in Arsenal's FA Cup semi-final win against Wigan Athletic - and the Swede is proud of his role in their eventual triumph in 2014. "Although my contribution was small in the 120-year history of the club, it was a highlight for me. The greatest 15 minutes of my life," he admitted.