Arsenal rejected David Silva back in 2005… because of fears over his physicality
Arsenal turned down the chance to sign David Silva in 2005 because they believed he couldn’t cope with the physical demands of the Premier League.
The Manchester City playmaker is set to start against the Gunners in Sunday’s Premier League showdown – but if history panned out differently the Spaniard could have been lining up for Arsene Wenger’s side.
Silva, during his loan spell at Eibar in 2004, was watched extensively by Arsenal’s Spanish-based scouting department – led by head of overseas recruitment Francis Cagagio.
Cagagio was responsible for identifying the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Hector Bellerin.
Eventually the club decided against pursuing a move for Silva – who was 19 at the time – feeling he didn’t possess the physical attributes to be a success in the English top flight.
At the time Dennis Bergkamp, Robert Pires, Cesc Fabregas, Jose Antonio Reyes and Freddie Ljungberg were all vying for attacking midfield roles for Wenger’s men.
Instead of joining Arsenal, Silva left Valencia for another loan spell – this time at Celta Vigo – where his performances persuaded his parent club to make him a first-team regular the following season.
Silva eventually joined City in 2010 for £26million and has gone on to become one of English football’s best foreign imports, helping the club to two titles, one FA Cup and two League Cups.