22-year-old left winger, Claudiu Micovschi, has been speaking about how he was on the verge of signing for Arsenal before the club changed their mind
Claudiu Micovschi is a Romanian left winger who currently plays for Avellino in the Italian third tier after signing for them from Genoa during the summer.
Eight years ago, Micovschi claims that he was ‘all set’ to move to Arsenal but that at the last minute the club called the deal off for reasons the player doesn’t seem too clear on.
“There were three games in one day in Cluj, where there were scouts from Arsenal,” Micovschi told the Tutto Avellino.
“I scored three goals. Arsenal called me, but I didn’t know what to do.
“Then I did the internship in London, where we had tournaments against Benfica, Sporting Lisbon, Basel and Borussia Dortmund, against whom I scored.
“I was all set to go to Arsenal, but at the last minute, they changed their minds. It was still a great experience; I was only 14 years old. I was the first Romanian at Arsenal.”
Arsenal are currently said to be chasing another Romanian with reports in the country recently claiming that Arsenal scouts have been watching teenage winger Ianis Stoica for a couple of months now.
He has been advised by his Romanian u21 coach to ‘disregard’ Arsenal’s interest in him for now, at least.
Gigi Becali, owner of Stoica’s club, FCSB, who play in the first tier of Romanian football, then informed the world that they had received an offer of €7.5m from Arsenal for the player, but they want €10m for him with a 20% sell-on clause.
“I currently have 7.5 million euros (offer) for Ianis Stoica,” Becali told as.ro.
The reporter then asked if that offer was from Arsenal and he replied, “Yes, Dad! [thanks Google].
“And I want 10 million plus 20% (from a future transfer).”
Just a few days before that, Romanian outlet Playsport reported that the winger, who turns 19 this month, had been noticed by Arsenal scouts and they have been monitoring him for the last couple of months.
According to those claims, Arsenal had already put together a file on the youngster but an official offer wasn’t expected until 2022.
Arsenal have competition, however, which could have prompted them to move more quickly.
FCSB have reportedly already rejected a €1.5m offer from Bologna, while Galatasaray are also showing an interest.
The 18-year-old has six goals and two assists for FCSB this season, one goal contribution every 73 minutes.
He’s also broken into the Romania u21s, playing for them over the last three breaks and scoring against Georgia on his debut.
In fact, it was the Romanian u21 coach, Florin Bratu, who advised Stroica to disregard Arsenals interest, for now at least.
“He has speed and feels light. For a striker, in the job description, that’s it,” Bratu said.
“This interest of Arsenal can also be misleading. He has to be careful because only his evolutions matter there.
“He must disregard Arsenal. We have to be honest, it is very difficult at the moment to play a Romanian player at Arsenal.
“It is an important thing that he is desired there, it certifies his value.
“As I know Ianis Stoica, he is an extremely balanced guy. If he only takes the essence, ‘Arsenal are looking for me, I have something, let’s work harder, catch the team at FCSB and play matches in a starting lineup’, then we can get a very good striker for Romania.”
“My opinion is that he is number 9. This shows the quality and the evolutions of the last time.
“I ask him and he does it very well, to go deep in space, he likes this.
“Ianis has this quality of execution, if he does this well he will become a great striker.”
It wouldn’t be the first time Arsenal have dipped into the Romanian leagues to sign a teenage talent.
That’s exactly what they did with Vlad Dragomir in 2015 and, more recently, Catalin Cirjan in 2019.
Cirjan made a strong start to life with Arsenal, regularly featuring for the u23s last campaign. He’s only been absent from the team recently through injury.
It’s even possible that Cirjan directly or indirectly helped Arsenal to discover Stoica in the first place.
The two have played together for the Romanian youth teams, as they’re only a week apart in age. Arsenal could well have spotted the FCSB youngster whilst tracking their own player.
Arsenal have shown a willingness to invest in signing youth players in recent years, as opposed to simply promoting the u18s.
Mika Biereth (Fulham), George Lewis (Fram Larvik), Nikolaj Moller (Malmo), Tim Akinola (Huddersfield), Salah-Eddine Oulad M’hand (Feyenoord), and Omar Rekik (Hertha BSC) are among those to join since 2020.
Whether Stoica is the next on the list, we’ll have to wait and see.
But it certainly seems possible.
Stoica is currently valued at around £405,000 and is under contract until 2023.