Livorno midfielder Brem Soumaoro has revealed that he very nearly became an Arsenal player but problems getting a visa stopped the move from happening.

Brem Soumaoro

“Arsenal had done everything to get me in,” Soumaoro told Voetbalzone. “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 another way, but that did not work anymore. I had not thought about it myself either. Because my parents did not have Dutch passports, I had to wait until my eighteenth birthday for my own passport and so the transfer to Arsenal did not take place.

“That was bales [?], because 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 also had no other choice. Later, FC Twente offered me a contract. The club expressed confidence in me.

“My agent said that within the youth academy [Arsenal] occasionally asked how I was, but there was no question of [further] concrete interest.”

Now 22, Soumaoro signed for FC Twente’s academy in 2007 before moving to the Go Ahead Eagles in the summer of 2017. There, he caught the eye of Serie B side, Livorno, who signed him on a free during the summer when he was released by the Eagles.

This season he’s played just 36 minutes, spread across two games.

A defensive midfielder who can also play in the centreback or right-back slot, he is eligible to play for both Guinea and the Netherlands although he has yet to represent either at any level.