Gareth Barry reveals Arsenal twice tried to sign him
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 21/09/17 11:07pm
Gareth Barry has revealed Arsenal tried to sign him twice as he prepares to break the Premier League appearance record against them on Monday Night Football.
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The West Brom midfielder will play in his 633rd top-flight game at the Emirates and surpass Ryan Giggs' record if he features against the Gunners.
Arsene Wenger admitted he wanted to take Barry to Arsenal when he left Aston Villa to join Manchester City in 2009 but could not compete with City's financial muscle.
The Gunners were also keen before Barry joined Everton five years later and the player admits it would have been good to work with Wenger.
"There were a couple of conversations with representatives and Arsene that he was interested," Barry said.
"Before I was leaving Villa and when I was leaving Man City to go to Everton there was a bit of interest too.
"But it didn't materialise. I've got massive respect for Arsene Wenger for what he's done for the English game and it would have been good to work under him, but that didn't happen.
"He deserves credit because he was ahead of the game back then. If you speak to people who worked with him in the late 1990s, he was seeing things and doing things that other managers in England weren't."
Barry made 365 top-flight appearances for Villa, 132 for Manchester City, 131 for Everton and has played four games for West Brom since signing for Tony Pulis' side in the summer.
The former England international had the option of staying at Goodison Park but chose to secure more regular football at The Hawthorns.
"Part of me thought, 'This was going to be the easier way to end your career'," he added.
"There's less pressure on you, you're not going to be starting games and less expected of you.
Barry 'proud' as PL game 633 looms
Gareth Barry says it will be a proud moment for him when he sets a Premier League appearance record on Monday Night Football
"But the other part of me thought, 'It's going to be too easy going down that road - come to West Brom for another challenge'.
"It might be harder, a tougher challenge, but I didn't want to slowly go down that road of fizzling out."
Watch Arsenal v West Brom on Monday Night Football. Coverage begins on Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Main Event at 7pm.