Argentine newspaper Ole this week conducted a poll of their readers to find out who they most wanted to see in the national team, and who they wanted out.
Usually Lionel Messi would come up as the most wanted, but this time around it was Paulo Dybala, a renewed hope for the future of the national team. Around 150k people responded to the poll, and Dybala was out in front as the player most popular with fans.
The 23 year old is seeing his popularity soar, and he also often tops polls for the signing most wanted by Real Madrid and Barcelona fans. But if circumstances had been different, he could be an Arsenal player.
Two years ago Italian newspaper Tuttosport said Arsenal were tussling with Juventus to sign Dybala, then at Palermo. Arsenal were said to have offered a deal worth around €32m, and it was explained the Premier League club were talking to Maurizio Zamparini, then Palermo president, and trying to get a deal agreed early.
An early agreement would have seen Arsenal able to get ahead of Juventus and other interested clubs, a shrewd move from Arsene Wenger. Dybala himself had even talked about it a few months earlier, telling Ole: “Whenever people speak well of me, I’m filled with pride. I will not deny that going to Arsenal and playing in the Premier League would be amazing. However, I am aware that my reality right now is Palermo.”
Arsenal interest may have been completely fabricated, it may not. What is clear is that Dybala sounded quite chuffed about it.
At the beginning of June 2015 Juventus announced they’d reached an agreement to sign Dybala. Interestingly, the price was €32m… plus €8m in add-ons.
The Turin club could now likely double their money and Arsenal’s chances of ever signing Dybala are probably very small. So near, yet so far.