Marseille playmaker Mathieu Valbuena has seemingly revealed that there have been several potential suitors for his signature during his time in Ligue 1, according to Goal.com.
29-year-old Valbuena, a veteran of 30 international caps for his native France, has been at the Stade Vélodrome since 2006 after completing a move from minnows Libourne.
His future at the club has become the topic of fervent speculation of late, with Premier League rivals Arsenal and Liverpool having been credited with an interest in the player who has reportedly been told that he is surplus to requirements at Marseille.
And Valbuena, who is under contract until 2017, has revealed that there have been teams interested in him previously - including one La Liga link that particularly intrigued him.
"There was Schalke, Zenit, great clubs," he told beIn Sport in an interview that was quoted by Goal.com.
"But I really like Atletico Madrid because it is a Spanish club and I have Spanish origins, but also because they play well.
"This was an interesting lead but it didn't go all the way."
Despite Valbuena's seeming admiration for Atletico, Arsenal and Liverpool will presumably be keen to prove that they are also attractive destinations for the £10 million-rated French star.
Arsenal, who bounced back from their 2-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League with an emphatic 4-1 mauling of struggling Sunderland on Saturday afternoon, remain in the thick of the Premier League title race and trail leaders Chelsea by just a solitary point.
While the key summer transfer priority for Arsene Wenger should undoubtedly be adding a striker to compete with Olivier Giroud for a starting berth at the Emirates Stadium, it appears the Gunners have a lot of money to invest on all areas of the squad.
Liverpool, meanwhile, who kept their own title chances alive with a thrilling 4-3 win over Swansea at Anfield on Sunday, look a safe bet to end their frustrating exile from the Champions League and manager Brendan Rodgers will surely need to add more players of Valbuena's quality if they are to compete sufficiently back on the European stage.
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