Barcelona midfielder Sergi Samper has claimed Arsenal tried to sign him last summer but insists he was not interested in a move to north London.
The Gunners have been linked with a move for the 21-year-old previously and Samper now says he was approached by the club before he left the Catalan giants for a season-long loan at Granada.
However, the youngster says he did not even want to listen to what Arsene Wenger had to say as he was determined to stay at Barcelona and force his way into the first team.
“I did not want to listen to [Arsene] Wenger,’ Samper told Granada’s official website. “I told him clearly that I wanted to stay, I wanted to succeed at Barcelona.
“What would make me happy was succeeding at Barcelona in the future.”
Ultimately Samper was allowed to leave Barcelona on loan and head for Granada. The midfielder has made 10 starts for the club who are currently struggling in La Liga, one place and one point off the bottom after 18 games.
- Arsenal prepare loan offer for striker with two goals in 32 games
- Ex-Arsenal boss Unai Emery set to become next Newcastle manager
- ‘Unhappy’ Arsenal striker will only stay if one promise is met
However, the midfielder insists he is happy at the club and is aiming to help them avoid the drop this season.
“I feel important in the team,” he said. “I am enjoying where I am and I hope that we can change the situation.”
It’s hardly surprising to see Samper struggling for game time at Barcelona with the likes of Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta and Ivan Rakitic all ahead of him in the pecking order.
Arsenal are currently struggling for central midfielders with Santi Cazorla injured and with Mohamed Elneny away with Egypt although Francis Coquelin is expected to give the club a boost by returning for the weekend’s clash with Burnley.