18-year-old midfielder, Dejan Kulusevski, has confirmed that Arsenal were interested in signing him and that he’d love to play for the club – just not yet.
Kulusevski moved from IF Brommapojkarna to Atalanta in Italy in the summer of 2016 for an unknown fee. Yet to make a senior appearance there, he has 17 goals in 26 appearances for their u17 side and six goals with 12 assists in 32 appearances for Atalanta Primavera, their main youth team.
Back in April, we reported that Arsenal were interested in signing him and the player has now revealed that they did indeed to lure him to London. The teenager admits, however, that he wants at least another season in Italy before considering a move.
“I had some clubs that showed interest, but I felt I really want this year in Atalanta,” Kulusevski told the media in Sweden.
“I hope, of course, get the chance now, then my biggest goal is to play in Serie A.
“Then I can also fall back to the Primavera team and play a lot there. We’ve lost both in the finals and in the semifinal of the league so it would be fun to do a third final year there too because I have very many friends there.
“They (Arsenal) were watching me at Atalanta, but they did not bid so it did not matter, but they showed interest. Then the thing is also that they are one of my favourite teams, so it was great, really cool.
“It would definitely be a club I would like to play for in the future.”
The Swedish Macedonian is a central midfielder by trade, but he can also play on both flanks and has built a reputation as a goalscorer, despite his midfield position. He netted 17 goals in 22 games for the u17s in 16/17.
According to a report in Calciomercato, Arsenal, along with a number of other top European sides, submitted an offer for the player in April although Kulusevski contradicts that claim in his comments above. The Italian publication also stated that the player had been convinced to stay with the Serie A side by their youth director, Maurizio Costanzi.
Manager, Gian Piero Gasperini had reportedly already decided by that point that the teenager will be an option for the first team for next season.
Speaking five languages (Swedish, Macedonian, Italian, English, German), Kulusevski says he doesn’t really have a single idol in the game but references Alexandre Lacazette, Eden Hazard and Kylian Mbappe as players who inspire him.
“I never felt the need,” Kulusevski said “My sister had Ronaldinho’s posters, but I like so many players today, maybe too many, not just one, like Lacazette, but I like Hazard and Mbappé , and then there’s Papu Gomez who is the strongest in the whole Serie A.”