Former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso has revealed that Arsenal were very close to signing him in 2009 but a deal fell through because the Gunners refused to up their bid by just £3 million, Liverpool Echo reports.
Alonso, who announced his intention to retire from football at the end of the season earlier, explained that he was pushed out of Liverpool by Rafael Benitez who attempted to replace him with Gareth Barry the season before.
“Yes, Benitez was open [for me departing].” Alonso said. “He showed me the cards – very clearly. I said to him ‘Of course, Rafa, I accept this. You are the one that has made the decision.’
“But in the end nothing happened. That’s football and I had no problems with it. The thing with the birth of my child, that had nothing to do with Benitez either.
“I guess my mind changed, my position in the team changed, a little bit that summer – because I wasn’t expecting the manager to say I could be sold. But that’s all.
“I was really close to Juventus and close to Arsenal, but Liverpool were asking for £18 million, and they were both offering £15 million! So that’s why it didn’t happen.”
Xabi Alonso played 210 matches for Liverpool and was part of the famous Champions League comeback victory against Milan in the final. His career took him to Real Madrid where he spent five years before joining Bayern Munich in 2014.