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Gareth Barry has revealed Arsenal tried to sign him twice as he set to break the current premier League record on Monday when the West Brom face Arsenal.
Arsene Wenger admitted he wanted to take Barry to Arsenal when he left Aston Villa to join Manchester City in 2009 but could not compete with City’s financial muscle.
Barry is expected to play his 633rd top-flight game at the Emirates and surpass Ryan Giggs’ record if he features against the Gunners.
“There were a couple of conversations with representatives and Arsene that he was interested,” Barry said.
“Before I was leaving Villa and when I was leaving Man City to go to Everton there was a bit of interest too.
“But it didn’t materialise. I’ve got massive respect for Arsene Wenger for what he’s done for the English game and it would have been good to work under him, but that didn’t happen.
“He deserves credit because he was ahead of the game back then. If you speak to people who worked with him in the late 1990s, he was seeing things and doing things that other managers in England weren’t.”
“Part of me thought, ‘This was going to be the easier way to end your career’,” he added.
“There’s less pressure on you, you’re not going to be starting games and less expected of you.
“But the other part of me thought, ‘It’s going to be too easy going down that road – come to West Brom for another challenge’.
“It might be harder, a tougher challenge, but I didn’t want to slowly go down that road of fizzling out.”
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