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Chiellini says he was a fool to turn down transfer to Arsenal

Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini says he was a fool to turn down a transfer to Arsenal, according to French magazine So Foot via Goal.

The 36-year-old received an offer from the Gunners when he was 16 years old and playing for Livorno in the third division of Italian football. He felt he was not ready for the move and that it would be viewed as him betraying Livorno. The Italian central defender would go on to play for Roma and Fiorentina before joining the Old Lady in 2005. 

On turning down a move to Arsenal, he said:

“In hindsight, I was a fool to decline that offer. I was 16, I played in Serie C, I got a huge offer.”

“I didn’t feel ready. If I had accepted, it would have given the impression of betraying Livorno.”

During his time at Juventus, Chiellini has scored 36 goals and provided 23 assists in 521 appearances. He has won nine Serie A titles and four Coppa Italias. He was a part of the Italy side that reached the final of the European Championship in 2012. He is one of the best defenders of his generation and the North London club will regret the fact that they failed to secure this transfer. 

Former Arsenal striker Robin van Persie has revealed that he asked Arsene Wenger to sign the Italian defender when he was still at the club. He felt that it would boost Arsenal’s chances of winning the Premier League title. On Chiellini, the Dutchman said:

“At a given moment I felt called upon to say what Arsenal could do better in order to win the league. I felt we lacked a winning mentality, and asked Arsene Wenger to sign Giorgio Chiellini.”

“I have played against him a few times, and he is a genuine winner.”

“He is 36 years old, but he’ll dish out nine elbows every game with a smile on his face. He’ll keep smiling and never get a yellow card. You need those types of winners and killers in your side. I felt we should get him.”

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