Newcastle United star Yoan Gouffran has revealed how he came close to joining Arsenal when he was an emerging young talent in France.
Sky Sports reports how the 27-year-old winger - who began his career as a striker with Caen - recalls how his Premier League switch could've happened sooner, had talks with the north London club come to fruition.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger had been alerted to Gouffran's potential by his contacts in France, and weighed up an attempt to lure him to the Emirates Stadium.
However, as the Magpies ace explains, negotiations broke down, and he ended up staying in his homeland before moving to Bordeaux and then sealing a transfer to St James' Park in January 2013.
"I was excited," Gouffran recalled in an interview with The Independent. "It was Arsenal. I remember it well. I was a lot younger then, 20 or 21. I didn't know if it would happen.
"My name was mentioned with Arsenal and I was playing for Caen. The discussions were quite lengthy, they were taking a long time, and then it did not happen.
"I was 14 when I joined Caen. My dream was always to be a footballer. It was a really important club for me, they were my first club. They gave me my first start when I was 17 and that was a really big thing for me."
Despite his failed Arsenal move, Gouffran holds no regrets about how his career has played out, and is enjoying playing under Alan Pardew on Tyneside, having netted nine goals in 47 appearances for Newcastle so far.
"Of course it is a very good relationship I have with him," he continued. "He has trusted in me as a player since I first came to the club.
"When I worked my way into the team I scored a few goals and all I continue to do is to work hard, play each game as if it were my life and give everything I can."
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