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Arsenal wanted to sign Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois before Chelsea moves, reveals Dick Law

Former Arsenal transfer chief Dick Law has revealed the club were plotting moves for Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois before they joined Chelsea.

Courtois made the move to England in 2011 from Genk, while Hazard joined a year later in a big-money move from Lille.

Law, who was nicknamed the transfer fixer at Arsenal after spending 13 years working for them between 2005 and 2018, admitted they desperately wanted to sign both players but were restricted by the club’s tight finances.

Arsenal wanted to try and sign Eden Hazard before he joined Chelsea from Lille in 2012

Arsenal wanted to try and sign Eden Hazard before he joined Chelsea from Lille in 2012

‘We had the financial muscle, but the risk reward calculation wasn’t clear,’ he told GOAL. 

‘Spending a lot of money on a player that didn’t work out would have really put the club in some financial straits.

‘Did we miss out on talents? Certainly. I remember sitting in meetings with Steve [Rowley], Ivan [Gazidis] and Arsene [Wenger] and gnashing our teeth over Thibaut Courtois. We knew he was good.

‘Eden Hazard as well, we wanted to do that deal. But there was a sense of responsibility and running the club prudently, all the time knowing that every £1 we spent we had to act as if it was our money. It was very, very difficult.’ 

Dick Law also revealed Arsenal's frustration after they missed out on signing Thibaut Courtois

Dick Law also revealed Arsenal’s frustration after they missed out on signing Thibaut Courtois

The signings of Hazard and Courtois both proved to be sound decisions by Chelsea with the pair going on to become important players for the club, particularly the former.

Chelsea made significant profits on both players with Real Madrid splashing out £35m on Courtois before eventually sealing Hazard’s signature this summer in a £100m deal which could rise closer to £150m. 

While the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United were breaking the bank on new signings during that era, Arsenal were forced to rely on young players and Arsene Wenger’s uncanny ability to sniff out a bargain in the transfer market as the club struggled with the hefty loan repayments on the Emirates Stadium.

Law expressed frustration at the situation but admitted there wasn’t much Arsenal could do given their financial position.

He added: ‘It was very difficult. Our closest competitor other than Chelsea was Manchester United and they had enough free cash that they could afford to make mistakes.

‘We always felt that we didn’t have the option to make a mistake because a £10m-£20m mistake would be a serious one for the club.

‘Where United would take risks on players, we just didn’t have that luxury. We couldn’t take those risks.’

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