Arsene Wenger has revealed Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola wanted to play for Arsenal during his playing career.
Guardiola came up through the ranks of Barcelona’s youth setup before breaking into the first in 1990. He was a defensive midfielder for the Catalan club and after spending 11 years at Nou Camp, the Spaniard was asked to leave the club as a free agent.
In 2001, Guardiola had held talks with Wenger and expressed his desire to play under the Frenchman at the north London club. However, the Gunners manager decided against signing him and the former midfielder joined Italian club Brescia the same year.
“He wanted to play with me as a coach. He wanted to play for Arsenal. I met him, he was 30-31 back then,” Wenger said, as reported by Sky Sports.
“I can’t really remember, after that he went to Italy and I had players like Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit who were still young and played for the national team as well.”
Guardiola decided to end his playing career in 2006 and a year later he was managing Barcelona B team. After impressing there, Barcelona appointed him as the successor to Frank Rijkaard for 2008-09 season.
At Barcelona, Guardiola enjoyed tremendous success as he won all club competitions and defeated Manchester United twice in the Champions League final, while he was at Nou Camp.
After taking a sabbatical for a year, Guardiola joined Bayern Munich in 2013 and his current club will face Arsenal in the Champions League group stage tie on Wednesday at the Allianz Arena. The reverse fixture at the Emirates saw Arsenal beat the Bundesliga winners 2-0, which was their first win in the Europe’s elite club competition this season.