New Sevilla signing Wissam Ben Yedder admits the opportunity to fill the void left by Kevin Gameiro was too good a chance to turn down after the Frenchman rejected a move to Arsenal to sign for the Europa League champions. The 25-year-old has moved to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium on a five-year deal after Gameiro – who scored 16 La Liga goals last term – joined Atletico Madrid.
Despite representing France at Under-21 level, Ben Yedder has made a name for himself at club level and netted 23 goals in 41 appearances for Toulouse last term to catch the attention of clubs across Europe. The forward has previously been linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur but it was across north London where interest in his services was strongest.
Toulouse boss Pascal Dupraz revealed Ben Yedder rebuffed an approach from Arsenal this summer, instead choosing to move to Spain where he will be tasked with filling the shoes of fellow-countryman Gameiro. Ben Yedder is ready for the challenge however, after admitting he turned down multiple offers to move to Sevilla.
"I know Sevilla is a great club, fighting for all the trophies they play for," he told AS. "I come to replace a player very important to the hearts of the Sevilla fans, Kevin Gameiro, and it's not going to be easy. It was the best choice for me, to come to Sevilla, despite having offers from other teams. Coming here is the best for my career and my evolution. I want to do at least the same as Gameiro, and, maybe, improve on it."
The summer has represented a period of upheaval for Sevilla since they won a record third successive Europa League crown by beating Liverpool in Basel. Manager Unai Emery has been replaced by Jorge Sampaoli, after the Spaniard was recruited by Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain.
Ben Yedder's rejection of Arsenal is a familiar tale for Arsene Wenger's side in the transfer window. The Emirates Stadium club have made just three signings this summer and though they include Granit Xhaka, there remains a perception they are losing ground on their rivals in the race for the Premier League title.
Arsenal also look set to miss out on signing last season's PFA Players' Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez after the Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha issued a hands-off warning to rival clubs by claiming the winger was not for sale. The post, via Instagram comes hours after reports from Algerian publication Le Buteur that Mahrez had agreed to join the Gunners for £35m.