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“We Were Interested In Him” – Wenger Confirms Interest In Winger
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has admitted he has been tracking Marseille winger Florian Thauvin throughout his career and was interested in buying him last winter.
The 20-year-old has emerged as one of the hottest properties in French football since making his name at Bastia over the last two seasons.
Arsenal have been strongly linked with the winger over the last couple of transfer windows and were thought to be close to signing him before he joined Lille last January in a deal worth around £3m. He was sent straight back out on loan to Bastia for the remainder of the campaign and continued to impress.
We were once again linked with a move in the summer after it emerged that Thauvin wanted to leave Lille before even kicking a ball for the club, and he eventually went on strike to force a £12m move to Marseille.
He’s set to line-up against us in tonight’s Champions League clash and Wenger has admitted he has been tracking the player for some time and was interested in signing him before he signed for Lille last winter.
“It was a surprise transfer for me. We were following him and we were interested in him before he joined Lille.”
The boss also tipped the youngster to go on to bigger and better things, but questioned his mentality for the way he forced a move to Marseille in the summer.
“For me, he is one of the big prospects of French football. He will go higher. He is only 20. His progress now will not depend on his talent but on his mentality.
“We saw in the summer that he showed a great mental strength, but you can also question his mentality for the way he behaved towards Lille.
“Only the future will tell us.”
Thauvin has continued to impress at the Stade Veladrome this season and Wenger is clearly a fan, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re constantly linked with the player over the next few years.
He’s certainly got talent, but I’m glad Arsene questioned him for the way he acted in forcing a move to Marseille. History tells us players who act in such a way to force moves can be trouble. Whether he’s worth the hassle remains to be seen but we’ll get a close up view of what he’s capable of tonight.