Monaco star Youri Tielemans has announced he rejected a transfer to Arsenal in the summer over doubts that he would not get enough first-team chances.
Tielemans, 20, was linked with moves to several top sides across Europe, including Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United, after a standout term at Anderlecht.
The Belgium international decided to join Monaco in a £21m ($28m) transfer, with his deal running to June 2022.
Tielemans called competition for spots in Arsenal’s midfield as the main factor in why he rejected the opportunity of a move to the Emirates Stadium.
“I knew not much was going to change with Arsenal’s squad; Their management wanted to keep the same group of players together 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.” – he was quoted as saying by the Sun.
Tielemans netted 13 league goals for Anderlecht last campaign and was named footballer of the year in the Belgian league.
He also helped the Belgian side reach the quarter-finals of the Europa League, where Manchester United beat them.
Jack Wilshere has praised Arsene Wenger’s role in his latest Arsenal comeback and insists he wants to remain at his boyhood club. The England international, who spent last season on loan at Bournemouth, is gradually working his way back into the first team fold after he broke his leg back in April. Wilshere took a significant stride towards reclaiming a place in Wenger’s first XI with an impressive performance in Thursday’s 4-2 win over BATE Borisov in the Europa League and the midfielder, out of contract in the summer, is delighted to be back in the reckoning. ‘Do I see myself staying? Of course I do,’ said the 25-year-old. ‘I have always been at Arsenal, I love this club. They have been good to me over the years, I have a great relationship with the boss.
‘You are always playing for your future but at the moment I am happy to be back, to feel part of the squad. It has been a while. ‘Last year I was at Bournemouth, year before I was injured. It has been a while since I felt a proper Arsenal player but I am back, in training, back in the squad, playing these types of games. I am doing everything I can to stay fit, training well, we will see. I am not looking too far ahead. We have another game Sunday, more League Cup and Europa League so I am happy.
‘I felt good coming back to Arsenal and into training and the boss has been good. He has been speaking to me, been patient and I feel good and enjoy working with these top players again. ‘As a player you want to be in every game, especially when you have been injured, but at the same time I understand they have been winning and playing well ‘Am I 100 per cent back? Maybe not. I felt good in the first half and start of the second and then fitness wise it started to go a bit towards the end. But that is natural and normal. I have only played two full 90s. It will come and I am patient at the moment and we will see where I am in three or four weeks.’
Follow oohtobeagooner on Facebook
for more latest Arsenal transfer news, injury news, team news and rumours.