Chelsea protege Charly Musonda has claimed that Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United all wanted to sign him during the last January transfer window. The 19-year-old is on a six-month loan at Real Betis but was apparently tracked by the Blues' domestic rivals.
The Belgium Under-21 international has made eight La Liga appearances for Betis this term, scoring one goal and making one assist. Musonda is one of 34 players currently out on loan from the Stamford Bridge club though it is yet unknown whether he has a future in the first team.
Since moving to Chelsea from Anderlecht in 2012, Musonda has enjoyed a successful youth career featuring in the Uefa Youth League and FA Youth Cup winning sides, but has yet to be handed a senior debut. Musonda was a victim of former manager Jose Mourinho's refusal to hand academy players regular first team opportunities.
After failing to break into the Chelsea side during the first half of the campaign, Musonda was sent out on loan to gain further experience, with Betis benefitting from his talent during the second part of the season. But the teenager admits that both Arsenal and United launched audacious bids to acquire the player on a permanent deal.
"Nobody could know what [Jose] Mourinho had in mind for me," he told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, according to Sky Sports. "It was simple: many English clubs wanted to buy me. Manchester United, City, Arsenal, but a loan was the only option for Chelsea. Only one thing matters to me - playing. Whether I return [to Chelsea] or not. There was interest from France, Netherlands. My ex-coach Yannick Ferrera, who I speak to a lot, wanted me at Standard, but I did not want to return to Belgium. And in the end I joined Betis."
With Musonda's future at Chelsea uncertain, the midfielder is set to remain at Betis for the start of 2016-17 campaign, though there appears no prospect of him leaving west London on a permanent basis having having signed a new contract in March 2015.
Having previously been compared to a mix between Spanish midfielders Xavi and Andreas Iniesta by scout Johan Boskamp, it is no surprise that Arsenal and United were interested in his services. However, attempts from the top flight pair must be regarded as nothing more that opportunistic given Musonda's desire to play regular first team football.