Konstantinos Mavropanos, the Greek defender who joined Arsenal during the January transfer window, had an agreement to join Olympiakos before opting to compete his move to the Premier League, it has been disclosed.
Completion of his move to Arsenal comes less than a year after the Greece Under-21 international made his senior professional debut and following just 20 appearances for PAS.
Yet the centre-back could have taken a different path after having already signed off on a move to domestic champions Olympiakos, while talks were also held with Serie A club Udinese, his agent and the man who first discovered him, Vasilis Stachtiaris, has revealed.
"Mavropanos had an agreement with Olympiakos before the Arsenal offer came in," Stachtiaris, who also acts as his representative, told Goal.com. "But there were also advanced talks with Udinese. Two other teams from Spain, Eibar and Rayo Vallecano, were interested as well.
"We had talks with AEK Athens but the offer was low. So, Olympiakos were in pole position but he wanted mainly to play in a league abroad. It's not in his favour that he played just 17 games with PAS Giannina in Greek Super League but he is an asset for Arsenal and the club must protect him and invest in his talent."
Arsene Wenger opted against sending Mavropanos on loan for the rest of the 2017-18 campaign after being impressed by the youngster in training and named him in the match-day squad for the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last month - though he is still awaiting his debut.
He has been added to Arsenal's Europa League squad for the knock-out phase of the competition and will be hopeful of being involved against Swedish side Ostersunds in the last-32 second leg on Thursday [22 February] with Wenger's side leading 3-0 from the first leg.
Stachtiaris, who has known Mavropanos since he was two years old, is expecting big things of the youngster and has compared him to Traianos Dellas, who was part of the Greece side that won the 2004 European Championships.
"But, if you ask me which player [Mavropanos] reminds me of, I would answer Traianos Dellas," the scout and agent added. "He has the style of Dellas 14 years after the unforgettable matches of Dellas during Euro 2004 in Portugal. I must say he can use his left foot better than Dellas.
"Greek football is not at the highest level of European football but this guy has the right elements [to succeed]. He is very strong, has agility, he is not lacking of technique.
"He's great in the air, good with the ball at his feet and uses his height to his advantage. He can play with both feet, is very strong and works really hard.
"You cannot predict [whether he will go on to play in the Premier League] but he's already reached a significant level in his career by moving to Arsenal and he has the potential to develop as a player."