PSV Eindhoven forward Donyell Malen says his decision to leave Arsenal this summer was as a result of potential opportunities in the Dutch Eredivisie.
The 18-year-old joined PSV on a permanent deal in the summer, a move that took many by surprise. Malen was a promising player in Arsenal’s youth teams, having joined from Ajax’s academy in 2015. He featured for the club during the pre-season tour of Australia and China, and looked to be making big strides forward.
However, it seems the lure of more first-team football was difficult to resist. “It was going well in England, but I still wanted to leave Arsenal because I had the opportunity to sign for PSV. I took that chance,” he told Eindhovens Dagblad.
While Malen won’t be a first-team player at PSV straight away, he’s already had the chance to play professional football for Jong PSV, the club’s second team, in the Dutch second division. That he can play at that level is perhaps justification for leaving Arsenal, as u23 football isn’t of the same standard.
Dutch football also has a history of emphasising young players and bringing them through to the first-team. At Arsenal, his first-team opportunities were severely limited by a number of experienced and high quality forwards.
Malen’s sale was part of an exodus of young players this summer which included the likes of Chris Willock, Dan Crowley, Ismael Bennacer and Kaylen Hinds.