Former West Ham and Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand has opened up on the time Arsenal tried to sign him.
The 36-year-old looked a big prospect early on in his career, though things never quite worked out as well for him as for his brother Rio Ferdinand.
Still, speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at its launch of the 5-A-Side Bet on Burnley v West Ham, Ferdinand revealed that there were once talks about Arsenal trying to sign him from West Ham for around £4million.
However, he says the Hammers wanted more money, and Arsenal turned to other targets instead.
“There was contact from Barcelona, an inquiry, but West Ham probably out-priced me. The money that they wanted for their English players at the time was a lot,” Ferdinand said.
“Arsenal asked about me in the past as well; I think Arsene Wenger wanted to pay £4m for me but West Ham wanted more money. It was around the time he went and bought Philippe Senderos and Johan Djourou instead. He signed those two instead of me.
“There’s no doubt about it that if I’d have gone to that World Cup in 2006, a big move would’ve happened for me. There’s no doubt about it.”
It would have been interesting to see what Ferdinand might have achieved if he’d got a big move like that early in his career, but he ended up having a difficult time as the years went on.
Ferdinand is now unfortunately most well known for the incident between himself and John Terry in 2011, with the former defender still clearly hurt by what went on and not holding back in his criticism of Terry.
“I’ve still not had a response from John Terry since the documentary aired last year, but that’s up to him. I can only do what I can do and keep doing what I’m doing. Do I think it’s stupid? Absolutely,” he said.
“Especially when you look at the route he wants to go down now in management. I felt like a hypocrite for so many years because I never dealt with my incident. Believe me, whenever there was something racial or to do with discrimination in football for all those years, my phone number was the first one people would call. All the news outlets would want five minutes with me but I never did it, because I’d have felt like a hypocrite. I just kept thinking that people would say ‘how’s he going to talk about someone else’s incident without addressing his own?’
“And that’s going to be the issue that John Terry will have as and when he becomes a manager. The fact that I’ve asked him to be on my documentary and he hasn’t tried yet to come together and make a positive change; if the time comes when he is a manager and one of his players racially abuses somebody or gets racially abused, what is he going to do? What is he going to say? People will say ‘hang on a minute, Anton Ferdinand asked you to be in his documentary but you didn’t want to, and now you’re flying high and mighty on something to do with racism. How does that work?’
“The way that football is at the moment, the likelihood is that it’s going to happen to him, and it’s a shame we’re in that sort of place but it’s likely it is something he’ll have to deal with as a manager at some stage.
“He’s taken the knee and he’s worn the t-shirts and that’s all good, I’m glad he’s done that and it is powerful to see him doing it. But if you’re going to do that and you’re sincere about it and you want to create positive change, then do things properly. Don’t just take a knee, don’t just wear a t-shirt. Educate yourself on the matter properly and try and make a positive change.”