Red Bull Leipzig midfielder, Naby Keita, claims that he turned down four Premier League clubs in the summer, including Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool and Southampton.
The 21-year-old says that Arsene Wenger reached out to him personally after his decent last term with Red Bull Salzburg where he scored 12 goals in 29 Bundesliga appearances.
In the end, however, the midfielder realised that he would never get regular first team football at any of the Premiership teams and therefore picked Leipzig. The deal was worth a reported £12m, which is a decent amount for such a young player but obviously not so much that Wenger was put off.
“Arsenal, Manchester City and Southampton were all interested in signing me, and Liverpool as well – although I did not speak with their coach,” he said, according to The Sun.
“I did not want to join a big Champions League club right away. It is too early for that. I want to prove myself in the Bundesliga first now.”
The money spent on Keita has turned out to be worth it so far. He’s scored three goals in six appearances in the German League, with only three of these being full matches, and Leipzig currently sit second in the Bundesliga table, just two points below previous champions Bayern Munich.
Perhaps one day our paths will cross again, he’s clearly enjoying his football and hungry for game time.