If you needed any futher confirmation that Hamza Mendyl really did almost sign for Arsenal, the player himself has now come out and confirmed transfer talks with the club.
Moroccan outlet DM Sport reported on deadline day that the LOSC Lille left-back travelled to London to try and complete his transfer to Arsenal. However, in the end it was too complicated to finalise the deal in time, since the Morocco international doesn’t have a European passport.
Instead he moved to Bundesliga club Schalke. President of the German club, Christian Heidel, then seemingly confirmed how close the player came to Arsenal, before Mendyl himself spoke to Kicker to do the same.
“It’s true, I was in talks with Arsenal FC and Newcastle United,” Mendyl admitted. “But being a Moroccan citizen it’s not so easy to get a work permit there. I would have thought I’d play in England.”
Mendyl properly broke into the Lille first team for the first time last season. He had to work his way into the side, but by the end of the campaign he was on the back of a run of six league starts in seven games. Add to that 13 caps for Morocco and you can see why the 20-year-old started to catch the eye.
Now we’ll see how he fits in at Schalke. It’s not unusual for players to spend a season or two in the German league before moving on to England, but we’ll see what happens.