Roma midfielder Miralem Pjanic has revealed he was on the verge of moving to Arsenal in 2011. However, the Bosnian claims he was forced to honour a prior commitment to the Serie A side, given by his father.
"I had a number of offers at the time and I was set to join Arsenal. I had agreed all of the conditions that had been put into place. However, my father had given his word to Roma and therefore I opted to sign for the Giallorossi instead," Pjanic explained.
The 23-year-old scored three goals and created five more from 20 Serie A starts this year, to help the Romans to sixth in the table. However, despite his best efforts, a 1-0 derby defeat to Lazio, in the Coppa Italia final, meant the side lost the final Europa League spot for next season to their rivals.
Pjanic was also targeted by the Gunners' rivals, Tottenham, last year. The Mirror reported Spurs placed a £12m offer during a Europa League tie in November. This was rejected. Pjanic signed for Roma from Ligue 1 side Olympique Lyon for £9m and is contracted to the Stadio Olimpico side till 2015. However, the midfielder seems ready to move on this summer, particularly since he will not play European football if he stays at Roma.
And should there be a race for his services this year as well, Arsene Wenger will fancy an edge in that competition, having narrowly secured a place in the Champions League qualifying rounds at the expense of Andres Villas-Boas' men.
Meanwhile, Wenger continues to revamp his first team after an eighth consecutive season without a trophy. The fringe trio of Denilson, Andrei Arshavin and Sebastien Squillaci will leave the club on a free transfer at the end of June, when their contracts expire.
The 32-year-old Russian international has made 144 appearances for the north London side, scoring 31 times. The highlight of his stay was a four-goal haul at Anfield in 2009. Brazilian midfielder Denison has made 153 appearances but has spent the last two seasons on loan to hometown club Sao Paulo. French international Squillaci joined from Spanish side Sevilla in 2011 but has failed to establish himself in the first team.