Dennis Bergkamp could've joined Chelsea instead of Arsenal in 1995

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Dennis Bergkamp could've joined Chelsea instead of Arsenal in 1995
Photo: PA

Arsenal icon Dennis Bergkamp could well have been a legend at London rivals Chelsea had things gone to plan in 1995.

The Dutch legend was keen to move to the Premier League following a difficult spell at Inter Milan in the mid-1990s.

Looking to escape Serie A, Bergkamp had found his ideal landing spot at Chelsea, who were managed by his childhood hero Glenn Hoddle.

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Hoddle wanted to bring the former Ajax Amsterdam star to Stamford Bridge to play alongside his compatriot Ruud Gullit.

A deal was put in place and Bergkamp travelled to London to complete the paperwork - only for Chelsea to pull out due to lack of funds.

Arsenal ended up swooping in and signing Bergkamp instead, where he became a club legend.

READ MORE: David Dein: How Arsenal lost Ashley Cole to Chelsea

Agent Jerome Anderson, who brokered the deal, has now revealed to talkSPORT about all behind the Chelsea legend that never was.

Dennis' hero as a young man growing up was Glenn Hoddle. As a young man he loved wearing the no 10 shirt.

Finally, having suffered a difficult time in Italy, he decided that he'd like to come and play in England.

Dennis' situation was this, he had agreed, and we had all agreed that he would sign for Chelsea and literally on the day of coming over with his wife. He wouldn't fly anymore so he was driving.

I got a call from the then managing director Colin Hutchinson. He said we still want to sign Dennis but we don't have the money. That was a real shock as we'd worked on the deal for a long time.

It was then up to Anderson to put the pieces together and come up with a back-up option - Arsenal.
Exclusive Memorabilia Dennis Bergkamp Signed Arsenal Soccer Photo: The Statue
I put my thinking cap on and thought, "Right, we've got Dennis coming over from abroad with his wife. He's driving, it's going to take several hours."

I phoned his personal Dutch agent and explained what happened and said I've got an idea, would you give me permission to speak to an institutional club which is Arsenal and he said of course.

I put the phone down and called David Dein, I said, "Something's happened today and you might have an incredible opportunity to sign a player who's yet to reach his prime and is well known as a wonderful international player who had a difficult time in Italy. It's Dennis Bergkamp."

He said, "We could be interested but the first thing you need to do is talk to the manager." So I jumped in my car and drove round to Bruce Rioch and said, "Would you like to sign Dennis Bergkamp?" He said, "Jerome, if we can sign Dennis Bergkamp I'd sign him tomorrow."

I went back to my office and made a few phone calls with Dennis still driving, unaware of what was happening.

David knew because I had such a strong affiliation with Arsenal that I was genuine in my belief so David organised a board meeting that went on for several hours at his house.

It was £7.5 million, a fixed fee, Inter Milan would not change that price.

Finally, all that was left was the small matter of persuading Bergkamp, which turned out to be easier than he thought.

The board agreed to try and make it happen, so I phoned up Dennis' agent.

Dennis arrived and he was upset in the first instance because Glenn was his hero and he was looking forward to working with him.

I said, "Look, if nothing else, please speak to Bruce, go to Highbury and have a look around the marbled walls and try to understand the history of what is a great, great club."

He agreed to that and thankfully he got on famously well with Mr Rioch, and the rest is history.

That history involved three Premier League titles and four FA Cups in 11 years, and a statue outside of the Emirates Stadium in honour of his services.

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