Arsenal were put under the transfer spotlight like never before this summer, and following a muddled start to the Premier League season have been criticised for failing to recruit.
Following the long-term injury to Santi Cazorla and uncertainty over Jack Wilshere’s future, many of us were surprised at Arsene Wenger’s inability to sign a central midfielder.
In what felt like a never-ending transfer window, one name that crept up in the back pages was Youri Tielemans, a player tipped to be the next big thing to break from French football.
The 20-year-old was a reported target for plenty of Europe’s big clubs but in a recent interview revealed why he turned down the heavyweights for a move to Ligue 1’s Monaco.
His £22million switch to the French champions was one of many big signings that Wenger will ultimately look back on in the near future and regret.
However, Tielemans admitted that it wasn’t pay packets or a lack of silverware that put him off joining the Gunners but rather an uncertainty on just how much playing time he would receive.
I knew not much was going to change with Arsenal’s squad.
Their management wanted to keep the same group of players together in order to finish high in the Premier League.
I had to be honest with myself and take a look at the midfielders Arsenal have got. They are top-class players.
I knew that I would not get many first-team chances with them, so I didn’t give any more thought to joining them. I never said no to any club. But I made it clear where I wanted to go.
The central midfielder has already racked up seven appearances in a Monaco shirt this season, helping his new side fill the Kylian Mbappe shaped hole in the squad.
Whilst he might not be the answer to Arsenal’s problems right now, Tielemans is definitely one for the future and I’d imagine Wenger will keep tabs on the youngster.