It’s hard to count the many world class players who Arsene Wenger could have signed, but never did.
Stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic were a possibility for the Arsenal manager once, as already revealed by the media and even the French boss.
Kaka can be added to that list, according to a former Arsenal scout.
Sandro Orlandelli, who worked for the club for several years, has given an interview to ESPN Brasil and revealed he told Arsene Wenger about the midfielder.
It happened around 2001, when Kaka was still to become a professional player for São Paulo.
“The way I attracted Arsene Wenger’s attention was interesting,” Orlandelli told ESPN Brasil. “I was doing an internship at the club, first at the academy.
“In the last week of internship, I received information from a person who was giving me assistance at the clu, saying that in the following week I’d be with the first team, and Arsene Wenger wanted to know me.
“I followed the training sessions, I think that on the penultimate day Arsene Wenger came to me with a paper asking if I knew a player from Brazil who had some quality to play for Arsenal.
“So I, in a very transparent way, said: ‘Look Arsene Wenger, I know a boy who I think has a lot of potential, but I think you don’t know him.
“He thought it was strange – ‘How don’t I know him?’ – because they monitor the entire world.
“I said: ‘because he still didn’t make it to the first team. He’s about to do it. He’s starting to rise in Brazil.’
“He asked: ‘What’s his name?’. I said Kaka – ‘Kaka?’ – So I wrote Kaka, he asked what his position was, and gave me a drawing of a pitch, and I showed the positions he could play.
“After a few months, Kaka showed himself to the world and went to Milan. I think it created some shock for Wenger and they invited me to work for Arsenal.”
Kaka made an €8.5m move to Milan in 2003. He had a record of over 100 goals and 50 assists for the club, and won several trophies such as a Champions League, and personal glory with a Ballon d’Or.
Signing for Real Madrid in 2009, Kaka find it hard to reach the same heights in Spain. After returns to Milan and São Paulo, the Brazilian is now playing for MLS side Orlando City.
Another one to add to the list.