Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger today opened up on his side’s January chase of West Brom captain Jonny Evans.
Since making the move to the Hawthorns from Manchester United in 2015, 30-year-old central defender Evans has gone on to establish himself as one of the Premier League’s most consistent stoppers.
The 67-time capped Northern Ireland international has proven himself to be not only a hugely capable defender, but also a stellar leader, with his experience having proven crucial to his side’s stout defensive record over the last couple of seasons (not so much this season, though).
Evans’ impressive showings for West Brom last season certainly didn’t go unnoticed on the part of the English top-flight’s biggest sides, with Manchester City and Arsenal having both expressed an interest in the Baggies’ star during the summer.
In the end, though, West Brom stood firm, with Pep Guardiola having admitted that (former Baggies boss) ‘Tony Pulis put a price (on Evans) that we couldn’t afford at that moment.’
However, the battle for Evans was very much back underway following the opening of the winter transfer market at the beginning of last month, with Arsenal and City once again having emerged as the leading contenders for his signature.
Gunners’ boss Arsene Wenger admitted early last month that his side would come out ‘second best’ if pitted in a battle of finances with Pep Guardiola’s runaway Premier League table-toppers for Evans, but, in the end, the Citizens opted to splash out a hefty 65 million Euro to bring in Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao, seemingly leaving Arsenal with a free run at West Brom’s star man.
In the end, though, the North Londoners failed to secure a deal for Evans, despite confirmation from numerous outlets in England that Arsenal had in fact tabled a last-ditch offer for the Northern Irishman.
Speaking in an interview with BT Sport earlier today, Gunners’ boss Arsene Wenger was questioned on his side’s pursuit of Evans, with the Frenchman revealing that, following the big-money arrival of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at the Emirates, the club simply couldn’t afford to pay the sum requested by West Brom for their captain:
‘I said many times that we did what we wanted to do but not all that we wanted to do.’
‘He was not available for what we could afford.’