Arsène Wenger has revealed the reasons why he did not sign Yaya Toure after having him on trial in 2003.

The Ivorian has had an outstanding season for Manchester City and is set to face Arsenal in Saturday’s clash at Emirates Stadium. But if things had gone differently, he could have been lining up on the other side after playing in a friendly for the club against Barnet in July 2003.

Wenger admits that missing out on the midfielder was a blow, but says that this was down to circumstances beyond his control.

We have made mistakes but he is not a mistake, it's just the fact that he preferred to go to Metalurh Donetsk

Arsène Wenger

“It would be up at the top [of my list of regrets],” he said. “But let's not forget that Yaya Toure had an agreement with us - and it's not because we did not want to sign him that he went to Ukraine.

“We needed to wait for his passport in Belgium. We have made mistakes but he is not a mistake, it's just the fact that he preferred to go to Metalurh Donetsk. He could go there without any passport.”

Toure has scored 21 goals in 42 appearances in all competitions this season, but Wenger says he is just one of a number of players his side will have to guard against.

“You cannot deal with everybody individually because all the players are good,” he said. “I believe it's down to our collective defending - the quality of our collective defending that will make the difference.”

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source Rob Kelly 28 Mar 2014