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Nov 16, 2012

Wenger stands by Zlatan trial request

Arsene Wenger says he does not regret the decision to ask Zlatan Ibrahimovic to undergo a trial with Arsenal despite missing out on one of the world's finest strikers.

• Blog: Ibra, the Marmite Man
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• Blog: Apocalypse or a season saved?

Wenger welcomed a youthful Ibrahimovic to the Arsenal training ground more than a decade ago, but the forward ultimately ended up moving to Ajax as he told the Gunners boss: "Zlatan doesn't do trials."

Ibrahimovic told journalists in France this week that he "then gave me one of his funny Wenger looks".

Wenger said at his press conference: "He was here at the training ground many years ago, but he went somewhere else in the end.

"The story is true that I wanted to see him and I gave him a chance to train with the first team. He didn't want to do it at the time, so you cannot sign someone you have not seen play. I don't regret it. Our scouts were telling me I needed to see this player, but it didn't happen. This has happened with many, many players down the years."

Wenger joined the chorus of compliments flowing in Ibrahimovic's direction after his four-goal wonder show for Sweden as they beat England 4-2 on Wednesday night.

"Honestly I am more a fan of team goals, but I must say his fourth goal against England was an exceptional combination of agility, strength and skill," Wenger said. "He was what we call in the zone where you have no confidence problem at all. It was on a day when everything becomes easy. To get into that zone, you have to have success historically.

"If it was 0-0 or if Sweden were 1-0 down, would he have scored? I'm not sure, but it shows you how importance it is to get rid of that confidence problem. Just do things naturally."

On the club's official website, he added: "They say he's a master in kung fu. You could see that on Wednesday night."

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