Giorgio Chiellini, a former Juventus center back, has opened up about his 2001 attempted transfer to Arsenal and claims he was a “dumb” to turn them down.
The former Italy international claims that when he was just 16 years old, the Gunners made him an incredible deal, but he turned them down because he thought it would betray Livorno.
The defender was wanted by Arsene Wenger, but Chiellini has admitted he was too loyal to Livorno and now regrets that.
The nine-time Serie A winner said that he was promised a staggering 200 million Italian Lira (approximately $66,000) per year by Arsenal.
Speaking to So Foot via Goal in February 2021 about his failed move, the 38-year-old said: “In hindsight, I was a fool to decline that offer.
“I was 16, I played in Serie C, I got a huge offer for just under 200 million lira-a-season. “I didn’t feel ready. If I had accepted, it would have given the impression of betraying Livorno.”
Chiellini would leave the following year for Roma, before linking up with Juventus 15 years ago.
He received 117 caps for Italy before retiring from international football earlier this year.
The centre-back then also bidded farewell to Juve in the summer as he joined Los Angeles FC.
Chiellini could have ended up at Arsenal later in his career after Robin van Persie revealed he urged Wenger to sign him, however his plea was ignored.
On the Effe Relativeren Podcast last year, the ex-Gunners skipper 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. You could see that when he played against Holland a few weeks ago.
“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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