Arsenal’s failure to qualify for the Champions League at the end of their 2016/17 campaign cost them the chance to sign Antoine Griezmann.
The Gunners won their last five Premier League games of the season but finished fifth, one point behind Liverpool.
Griezmann scored 26 goals for Atletico Madrid that season and was one of Europe’s hottest prospects.
And according to transfer guru David Ornstein, Arsenal would have captured the World Cup winner if they had finished above the Reds.
“I was told that if Arsenal had qualified for the Champions League in 2017 they would have signed Antoine Griezmann, but missing out for the first time in 20 years ended their hopes on that one,” Ornstein said on The Athletic Q&A session.
Griezmann has previously revealed that in the summer of 2013 he had attracted interest from Arsenal, with his former agent Eric Olhats in contact with Gilles Grimandi.
Griezmann said he was keen on speaking to then boss Arsene Wenger – only for the club to stall on making a decision before rejecting him.
“I waited, I waited, and I kept waiting,” he recounted in his autobiography.
“When there was no news, Eric called Grimandi, who said that the manager was still interested in me [and] to keep waiting.
“Finally a few hours before the market closed, he let us know Arsenal would not make a move. I don’t like to be told something and for it not to happen.
“So when Eric told me later that the London club were interested again I told him ‘Forget it, after the blow they gave us’.”
Ornstein says Arsenal also failed in their attempts to sign Australian winger Harry Kewell.
“I also remember Arsenal missing out on Harry Kewell, another who favoured Liverpool, when he left Leeds in 2003,” he added.
“Just before that he scored a stunning goal in a great all-round performance for Leeds at Highbury. It was a big blow to Arsenal at the time, but it didn’t work out for him at Liverpool.”