Emerson Royal has admitted Arsenal made an effort to beat Tottenham to his signature, though revealed why Spurs emerged the ultimate victors.
Both north London clubs splashed the cash this summer. Arsenal made a conscious decision to infuse their squad with the promise of youth when signing six first-teamers all aged under 24.
Right-back Emerson would’ve fit that bill, though the 22-year-old would ultimately sign with bitter rivals Tottenham.
Emerson saw an option in his contract triggered by Barcelona that saw him signed outright from Real Betis earlier in the window. Given their deep financial debt, that move always appeared to be with a view to making a quick profit.
And on transfer deadline day, Tottenham swooped for the new Brazil international to the tune of £25.8m.
Now, speaking to ESPN Brazil (via Sport Witness), Emerson has revealed his thought process behind ditching Barcelona for Tottenham.
“I saw this wish from Tottenham,” said Emerson. “I even talked to the director, he called me and all. And I saw this club’s desire to have me here. I said ‘I’m going’.
“I got home, my family was at home, I told them ‘I’m leaving’. My family was looking at me like ‘what?’ I said ‘yeah, we’ve been here for 20 days but let’s go.
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“Let’s leave for a new challenge. Let’s turn the key in our head, let’s focus on that and let’s be happy there. Because here, now, right now, we won’t be able to be happy here. Let’s go there because I’m sure we’ll be happy’.
“That’s what we did. We came here, I’m very happy here, I’m very grateful at heart. And wanting to be in my best shape as soon as possible to help my team even more.”
Emerson went on to admit he held a conversation with Arsenal chief Edu. Hector Bellerin’s future appeared to lay away from the Emirates for much of the summer before joining Real Betis on loan.
Emerson would have been a direct replacement for the outgoing Spaniard, though the versatile Takehiro Tomiyasu was ultimately signed instead.
However, Emerson hinted that despite Arsenal showing “desire” to sign him, it was Tottenham who made the firmer approach.
“I actually had a conversation with Edu,” Emerson continued. “I did talk to Edu in the same week. And we talked, he showed me the desire of the club and such. And, of course, I needed Barcelona, I couldn’t settle anything with anyone, Barcelona had to deal club to club.
“And that’s where Barcelona went and found a deal with Tottenham. I also got to talk to Tottenham, at first I didn’t have any verbal agreement with anyone.
“That’s when Barcelona told me that they had made an agreement with Tottenham. I listened to the proposal, for me it was a good proposal, not only financial, for me that’s what counts least. But it had a very good career project for me. So this is why I chose to come to Tottenham.”
Tottenham star looks “lost” in Nuno system
Meanwhile, Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli looks “lost” in Tottenham’s team amid an unclear plan from Nuno Espirito Santo, one pundit has claimed.
Alli bounced back with an encouraging display against NS Mura on Thursday night. That was in stark contrast to his previous performances this season which left a lot to be desired.
And according to former Spurs full-back Alan Hutton, Alli is suffering from muddled instructions from his manager.
“A new manager coming in, he was really working hard in the off-season. I thought this is his time to shine,” Hutton told Football Insider.
“Obviously, Nuno’s tried him in that number eight position, if you want, using his athleticism to get up and down the pitch. It just looks at the moment he’s not too sure where he fits into that team.”
Former Tottenham man Ledley King has insisted that Nuno should be playing All in the number 10 role. We know he has great energy, an eye for goal. That’s his strength,” the former defender told Sky Sports.