Arsene Wenger has revealed why the Gunners decided against signing Belgium and Sampdoria midfielder Dennis Praet while he was previously on trial at the club.
Praet is top on Arsenal’s shopping list for this summer and the London club have already seen an offer for the player rebuffed. Arsenal are heavily linked with the signing of a plethora of players but they seem to be more interested in Praet and his teammate Joachim Anderson.
Arsenal confirmed the departure of Aaron Ramsey at the close of last season and they are looking to sign a midfielder in his stead, with Praet identified as perfect fit to play in Aaron Ramsey’s role.
The 25-year-old Belgian midfielder, who joined Sampdoria from Anderlecht in the summer of 2016 failed a trial at Arsenal when he was 16. He had also impressed for Belgian side Anderlecht when they played against Arsenal.
The player has developed into a fine attacking midfielder, prompting Wenger’s opinion on the target.
‘When he was 15 or 16 years old, he came with Kyle Ebecilio who, in between, went back to Holland,’ Wenger recalled.
At the time, he was judged – I didn’t know he was here, I didn’t know him at the time – a bit weak physically.
‘Since then he has developed well. I was honestly impressed by his performance when we played in the first game [which Arsenal won 2-1 in Anderlecht].’
Praet played along diminutive Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira in Sampdoria and the pair could link up at the Emirates next season.