West Ham's front-line today will be led by Ashton, a player Wenger once wanted to buy.
The Arsenal manager recalled: "When he was at Crewe, they played against us in the FA Youth Cup and he was outstanding.
"I tried to get him here, but they had an agreement with Liverpool.
"Ashton is an intelligent player and uses his body well and is good in the air.
"We were looking at the time for someone who could give us something a bit different and help us play slightly more direct if needed, and we felt he could develop into that sort of player.
"After, he went to Norwich and that was a surprise because suddenly he would not join us."