- 23 hours ago
Chiellini admits he was a “fool” to turn down Arsenal before Juventus move
Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini has admitted that he was a “fool” to turn down the offer of joining Arsenal when he was just 16 years of age – five years before he joined Juventus.
In a recent interview with French magazine So Foot Chiellini revealed that Arsene Wenger’s side approached the defender when he was still a youth player at Livorno.
Chiellini eventually made the step up to Livorno’s first team and then moved to Roma, before Juventus bought the defender in 2005 for just €4.3 million.
Over the course of his career, Chiellini has won nine Serie A titles and four Coppa Italia trophies. A remarkable amount of awards for any player.
However, as he approaches the end of his playing career, the senior defender admits one of his main regrets was not taking the opportunity to move to England in 2000.
“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.”
Remarkably, Chiellini’s decision to turn down Arsenal’s offer at just 16 may not have been his only opportunity to join the London club.
In a recent interview, Dutch striker Robin Van Persie admitted that during his playing days under Wenger he once urged the French manager to sign up the Italian defender as he believed Chiellini was exactly the kind of player that could take Arsenal to the next level.
Van Persie 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.”