Naby Keita reveals he rejected Arsenal this summer despite Wenger phonecall

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Football News

Even before succumbing to a 3-4 home defeat to Liverpool, Arsene Wenger and Arsenal were already being heavily criticised for their inability to sign transfer targets this summer.

And the frustration of Gunners fans will only be intensified today after one international midfielder revealed he had turned down the north London club during the offseason - even after receiving a personal phone call from Wenger himself.

Naby Keita, who ultimately signed for RB Leipzig in a €15 million deal and who, at 21, is highly regarded as a potential star of the future, admitted that the Arsenal manager tried to convince him to move to the Emirates during a summer phone call.


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"I only had contact with Arsene Wenger, who spoke French to me," Keita told German publication Die Welt, via ESPN, whilst also revealing Liverpool and Manchester City had been interested in his services.

Although Keita, a central midfielder with 12 caps for Guinea, may not have been a man Arsenal fans were calling for Wenger to bring in for the new season, the fact he turned them down despite a personal plea from their manager will only add to their belief that Wenger is now unable to complete key deals.

In explaining his decision, though, Keita did seem to suggest that it was actually Arsenal's relative success that put him off any such move to the Premier League.

"I joined RB because it is an exciting club with great potential," said the young midfielder. "I didn't want to move to a big Champions League club immediately. It's still too early."

In fact, it sounds like very few people would have been able to convince the former Salzburg player to sign anywhere other than RB Leipzig because of his special bond with the club's sporting director Ralf Ragnick.

"Ralf has treated me like a son. He came to France in 2014 to sign me for Salzburg and I trust him entirely."


Keita now joins a long list of transfer targets that Arsenal have failed to bring to the Emirates over the past few months.

With the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Jamie Vardy and Alexandre Lacazette all having failed to end up in an Arsenal shirt, the club's fans are hoping there will be some last minute additions before the transfer windows closes at the end of this month.

The deal that looks most likely to be completed is that of Shkodran Mustafi of Valencia who could arrive for around £25 million.

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Thierry Henry
Jack Wilshere
Alexis Sanchez
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