Moroccan wing-back Achraf Hakimi has spoken out about interest in him from Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain for the first time.
The 22-year-old gained admiring glances from all across Europe thanks to his brilliant season in 2020-21. He registered seven goals and ten assists from right-back as Inter Milan lifted the Serie A title.
Inter soon placed a £60.9m price tag on his head due to their tough financial situation. Chelsea were extremely interested in his signature but saw PSG beat them to it.
Hakimi went on to sign a five-year deal at the Parc des Princes. He was part of a crazy summer for the French giants which included the arrivals of Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos and Gigi Donnarumma.
In an interview with French outlet L’Equipe, Hakimi has given his verdict on the transfer saga.
“I had two offers, one from Chelsea and one from Paris Saint-Germain,” he said (via Football Italia).
“But I felt I had to come to Paris, that I would have been happy there.
“PSG is a great club, I really appreciate the support the fans gave me straight away. I was lucky because so many other champions joined me.
“I feel good at PSG, we have a dream team and I’m happy to be a part of it.”
Hakimi has got off to a great start in Ligue 1. He has so far managed three goals and two assists in seven appearances.
However, there are two reasons why Chelsea should not be too worried about the deal failing to go ahead.
One is explained by the title-winning Inter boss Antonio Conte. He said recently: “Psychologically, Hakimi suffered a little bit from last year’s games against Real Madrid.
“His dream is to play for that club again as a key player.”
It seems any spell at Stamford Bridge may not have lasted that long anyway.
The second reason is that Blues boss Thomas Tuchel can rely on Cesar Azpilicueta and Reece James at right wing-back.
The pair have looked solid in recent months and could help the west London side to lift the Premier League title this term.
Emerson opens up on Chelsea exit
Italy international Emerson Palmieri has spoken about his summer move to France.
The left-back joined Lyon on a season-long loan after falling down the pecking order at Chelsea.
Tuchel can operate with either Marcos Alonso or Ben Chilwell at left wing-back.
Emerson said (via Fabrizio Romano): “I decided to leave Chelsea as I had no space. Roberto Mancini told me: you need to play, you’ve to be a starter.
“OL proposed an interesting project and I accepted in two or three days. I’m really happy with my choice.”