A report has revealed why Arsenal decided to pass up the opportunity to sign Dejan Kulusevski ahead of north London rivals Tottenham in the January transfer window.
The 21-year-old winger was struggling to make a significant impact at Juventus in the first part of the campaign and was allowed to join Spurs on an 18-month loan with an option to buy.
The Swede has certainly made his mark in the Premier League though. Indeed, Kulusevski has already scored three times and added six assists in 13 Premier League outings so far.
Tottenham are already set to trigger the purchase clause in their loan deal for Kulusevski. That would see the attacker join Antonio Conte’s side on a permanent deal for €30m (£24.8m).
The Emirates hierarchy decided not to rival Spurs for the player for two major reasons.
Arsenal felt they already had enough left-footed right-wingers in the squad, namely duo Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe.
A fair enough reason, but in hindsight arguably one they could end up regretting.
Conte set on first summer signing for Tottenham
Antonio Conte is set on his first summer signing for Tottenham Hotspur as they look to sign Dejan Kulusevski on a permanent deal following loan
England star Saka has come on leaps and bounds and in many eyes is the club’s best player. Club-record Pepe, meanwhile, continues to struggle and there has been talk he could be offloaded in the summer.
Conte hails Kulusevski signing
As for Kulusevski, Conte has been thrilled with how the Sweden star has settled in England.
“When I was coach of Inter I tried to ask to sign him but Juventus, perhaps they put more money, and they got him,” Conte said earlier this month.
“He’s only 21, 22 and he’s strong and good physically.
“For Tottenham I think he’s a great signing for the present and the future.”
Tottenham and Arsenal will renew their battle for fourth spot this weekend, although both have tricky games.
Spurs host a Brighton side who won at The Emirates last time out after a run of defeats. The Gunners, meanwhile, head to a Southampton side thrashed 6-0 at home by Chelsea last time out and they will almost certainly be looking to restore the faith of the St Mary’s fans with a much-improved performance.