In the end nothing materialised, however, and Anelka went on to join Chelsea, where he scored 59 goals over five seasons and won a Premier League and two FA Cups.
On The Tuesday Club podcast, Wenger said, "Maybe (it was the wrong decision)!
"He wanted to come back. Maybe it was a mistake.
"I wanted to give the signal to the players that once you left the club there is no way back.
"I felt that they would then have a hesitation to leave. I didn't give them the feeling of 'ok I go somewhere else, I try it and if it doesn't work I come back'.
"That's why I didn't do it and overall maybe I should have done it. Nicolas still scored in 125 games overall in the Premier League I think, something like that, so he could have helped us."