France defender Djibril Sidibe has revealed he turned down an offer to join Arsenal during the summer transfer window before completing his switch to Monaco. The 24-year-old moved to the principality from Lille on a five-year deal, but not before becoming subject to heavy interest from the Premier League.
L'Equipe reported in July that the Gunners were plotting a last-minute offer to sign Sidibe, despite Monaco having agreed an £11m (€12.2m) fee to acquire the defender. The player eventually secured a move to the Stade Louis II, however the interest from England has stayed long in his mind.
The former Troyes youngster has already made 10 appearances for Monaco this season, scoring once in a Ligue 1 victory over his former club, yet he has had his head turned by the prospect of moving to the English top flight. Sidibe says he was forced to turn down the offer from Arsenal due to concerns over playing time, but plans to move across the Channel next season.
"I was on the brink [of signing for Monaco] and [Arsenal] gave me a headache by making a bid at the last moment," he told Le Parisien. "After reflecting on it, I was not certain my playing time would be guaranteed. I would have played maybe 25 games this season, including the cups. They also wanted to use me on the left whereas I want to establish myself on the right. I chose to stay in Ligue 1 and then leave for the Premier League next year because it is a competition that greatly appeals to me."
Arsenal did go on to add two new defenders to their squad in the form of Rob Holding from Bolton Wanderers and Germany international Shkodran Mustafi. However, should they wish to re-enter the market for Sidibe it appears their interest would be well received by the versatile defender.