Monaco midfielder Youri Tielemans said he turned down a switch to Arsenal before moving to the Ligue One champions at the start of the season.
The Belgian international made the €25m move to the the Stade Louis II stadium at the start of July from Anderlecht, but speaking about the offer from the Gunners (quotes via the Evening Standard), Tielemans said he felt that he would not get the game time he needed at the Emirates:
“I knew not much was going to change with Arsenal’s squad. Their management wanted to keep the same group of players together in order to finish high in the Premier League.”
“I had to be honest with myself and take a look at the midfielders Arsenal have got. They are top-class players. I knew that I would not get many first-team chances with them, so I didn’t give any more thought to joining them.I never said no to any club. But I made it clear where I wanted to go.”
It is a surprising comment considering the centre of Arsenal’s midfield is not overloaded with ball playing, offensively minded players. Tielemans scored 18 times, and provided 15 assists in 53 games in all competitions last term.
In contrast the likes of Mohamed Elneny, Aaron Ramsey, Granit Xhaka and Francis Coquelin scored just eight goals between them last season, and with a creative talent such as Santi Cazorla still sidelined due to injury, it’s surprising that manager Arsene Wenger did not strengthen the area in the summer.