Villarreal winger Samuel Chukwueze has revealed how close he came to joining Premier League side Arsenal.
The Nigerian has enjoyed a successful season with his current employers who themselves have struggled and sit 14th in La Liga.
Who is Samuel Chukwueze?
- Age: 19
- Position: Winger
- Career so far: Villarreal B – Villarreal
- Key stat: Chukwueze has completed 44 dribbles in La Liga this season, the joint-most of any player in his team.
Chukwueze has made 24 La Liga appearances this season for Villarreal. Despite their struggles, the left-footed winger has continued to impress, having been directly involved in 14 goals in 45 matches in all competitions (10 goals, four assists) to alert the likes of Premier League title-chasers Manchester City and Liverpool according to the Daily Mail.
Chukwueze spoke to reporters about his future and admitted that a move to England is an ambition of his which almost came to fruition when a deal with Arsenal was almost completed in 2016.
According to the player, the details of the move were not agreed upon with Nigerian-based Diamond Football Academy who were not happy with the terms and conditions offered by Arsenal.
“Playing in England is still an ambition for me,” he told Team Talk.
“I need to keep on working hard and to keep improving. I really want to play in England.
“It was very close for me to sign for Arsenal, almost had the contract in my hands. Unfortunately, it did not work out fine with my academy due to the side of agreement and payment. They did not agree with the terms of the contract.”
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The next Arjen Robben?
Such is Chukwueze’s talent, the Nigerian’s ability has already been compared with Dutch master Arjen Robben, who is considered by many as one of the greatest wide-players of his generation.
Spanish football reporter Guillem Balague once described his ability as “unbelievable” and stressed that this is a player who is “exciting to watch”.
He told BBC Sport: “He has just been called up into the senior Nigeria national team and has previously won the Under-17 World Cup with them in 2015.
“Only 19 and at La Liga side Villarreal, Chukwueze is an attacking midfielder who can play in both wide areas and his dribbling ability is unbelievable.
“He has already scored in the league and cup and you have a player who is new and exciting to watch.”
Bagging his first international cap for Nigeria at the end of 2018 in a 0-0 draw with Uganda, and with some of Europe’s biggest clubs alert to his talents, the sky seems to be the limit for Chukwueze.