Former Ligue 1 and Serie A centre-back Michael Ciani has revealed he was approached by Arsenal just over a decade ago, but the move fell through.

Michael Ciani
Lazio’s French defender Michael Ciani heads the ball during the Italian Serie A football match Sampdoria Vs Lazio on May 16, 2015 at “Luigi Ferraris Stadium” in Genoa. (Photo: MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images)

Michael Ciani announced his retirement from professional football in 2019, having made over 200 appearances in Ligue 1 before ending his career in the MLS. The French centre-back also spent time in Serie A and La Liga during his playing career.

Speaking in a recent interview, Ciani admitted he almost added the Premier League to that list, in around 2010. The defender said Arsenal made an approach, and if it wasn’t for complications with agents he would have accepted the transfer without question.

“The biggest club that came after me? I had a period when I was approached by Arsenal,” Ciani said (via Sport Witness). “It’s when I was at Bordeaux. It wasn’t my fault because I would have accepted immediately, but there was a story of agents, I think…

“I’d just arrived at Bordeaux, it was my first year. I was in the national team, the top scorer in the Champions League (laughs). I was really at the peak of my career.

“I therefore got that approach, and it was kind of just forgotten. It could have been a good opportunity for me.”

As Ciani mentions, that point in his career was really the pinnacle. He made the Champions League quarter-finals with Bordeaux after scoring in the last-16, his third goal of the tournament, and he even got his France debut against Spain.

It’s no wonder clubs like Arsenal were starting to sniff around, but Ciani ended up staying with Bordeaux until 2012, when he joined Lazio.

At the time, Arsenal’s centre-back options were Thomas Vermaelen, William Gallas, Johan Djourou, and Mikael Silvestre. They ended up bringing back Sol Campbell in the January 2010 window on a short-term deal.