Brem Soumaoro has revealed to the Dutch media that he almost signed for Arsenal back in 2011, but upon arriving in London he was told he couldn’t enter the country.
Soumaoro, now 22, explained to VoetbalZone that when he was 15 years old he almost made the move to North London. He showed the Dutch outlet an email from Arsenal inviting him to travel to London, and he told the story of how it all went wrong.
“Arsenal did everything to get me in,” Soumaoro recalled. “We went to London, but when we landed, we were told we could not enter the country.”
“I did not have a Dutch passport yet and therefore I could not get a visa in England. We tried to solve that in another way, but that didn’t work anymore. I had not thought about it myself either.
“My parents did not have Dutch passports, so I had to wait until my eighteenth birthday for my own passport and so the transfer to Arsenal did not take place.”
Soumaoro spent the first couple of years of his senior career in the Netherlands, with the FC Twente B team and the Go Ahead Eagles. However, now he’s playing for Livorno in Serie B. It’s clear from his interview that he feels it all could’ve gone differently if he’d made that move to Arsenal.
“What if I had played at Arsenal for a few years? Where would I have been? But I had to leave it for what it was, I had no other choice. Later, FC Twente offered me a contract. The club expressed confidence in me.”
After Arsenal’s initial attempt to sign the midfielder, they reportedly kept following him for a while, but the club never made another concrete move.
“My agent said that staff within the youth academy occasionally asked how I was, but there was no question of concrete interest,” Soumaoro said.
The defensive midfielder has made a slow start to life with his new club, only making a couple of substitute appearances this season. Hopefully, for his sake, he bounces back and gets another chance to prove himself at the top.