Stylish Genk winger Jonathan Paintsil has revealed the level of his ambitions after explaining why summer interest from both Leeds and Southampton failed to materialise into a concrete move.
Daniel Farke’s side pushed strongly to bring in the Ghana attacker as doubts emerged over the futures of both Wilfried Gnonto and Luis Sinisterra at Elland Road.
Ultimately, they did manage to retain the services of Gnonto amid heavy interest from Everton. However, a deadline day swoop saw Sinisterra depart, the Colombian winger trading places with Jaidon Anthony at Bournemouth; the latter of whom was desperate to make the switch to West Yorkshire.
The Whites had also previously beaten Southampton to the signing of Dutch striker Joel Piroe from Swansea.
As for Paintsil, it’s easy to see why Leeds took a shine to him too. The 25-year-old attacker scored 18 times and had 14 assists last season from 39 games; form which alerted both Leeds and Southampton.
Indeed, Southampton’s efforts were quickly rebuffed by the five-times capped Ghana international.
However, Leeds’ interest was that bit more serious, with Leeds agreeing terms over a move in the region of €10m (£8.6m).
Ultimately, the move broke down with Paintsil seemingly in dispute with his Belgian side over a contractual issue.
Now, however, the player has come clear on the summer speculation and has revealed he didn’t want to make the move as he was opposed to dropping down and playing Championship football.
Furthermore, it seems the forward – who can play off either wing or as a No 10 – has ambitions of holding out for a move to a higher level.
Joseph Paintsil on why he snubbed Leeds, Southampton transfers
Providing an update on summer interest in his services, Paintsil has come clean to Het Laatste Nieuws.
“I’m still here. There were many rumors, many possibilities,” he said.
“When my agent said that I could go to Southampton and Leeds United, it quickly became clear to me that I did not want to leave Genk for those clubs.
“Look, every player has certain expectations. My dream is to one day play in the Premier League. Or at least in a top five European league.
“I don’t want to say that Southampton and Leeds are bad teams, but they couldn’t convince me. After my performances I expected more last season. I want to have another season here to see which clubs offer themselves.
“I also believe in our team. Despite the departure of Mike (Trésor, to Burnley), we are still strong. Based on our qualities, we can play for the title again, just like last year.”
Paintsil already has one goal and two assists to his name this season and if he continues to improve, it surely won’t be long before he gets a move to a Premier League team, as he craves.
As for Leeds and Southampton, their focus has to be on bouncing back as quickly as possible with the pair both suffering relegation from the top flight last season.