The Leicester midfielder had the opportunity to move to the Gunners as a youth but rejected the move for practical reasons
Leicester midfielder Dennis Praet has revealed that he turned down the opportunity to move to Arsenal when he was a teenager.
“I had three or four really good options,” Praet told the Guardian. “We went to visit Arsenal, Lille, Ajax and Anderlecht. Arsenal would have been a really nice step and I could earn a lot more money there than in Anderlecht, but at that moment my education was not finished and that was really important for me – there was no insurance that I would become a good football player.”
Indeed, it was such a near thing that he did not even have his own boots when he travelled to England.
“It was a really close call because it was deadline day,” he said. “I arrived at the training ground but there were some small issues with the contract and I think it was only one hour before the deadline that everything was figured out, so I signed just in time.
“But I arrived here with the thought that if I sign, I could go back to get my stuff I needed. But the gaffer really wanted me to stay for the first game. I had no boots, so I did two training sessions and the first game with somebody else’s. I don’t even know whose they were.”
Praet’s research for the move was equally unusual – as it was conducted on the Sampdoria team coach.
“We were driving to a friendly game and I watched the second half of Leicester v Atalanta,” he said. “Was really surprised by the way Leicester were playing – with a really high press, really nice football, a lot of chances. At that moment I was sold.”
The Foxes suffered a 1-0 defeat to Manchester United last weekend but will aim to bounce back against Tottenham on Saturday, with the 25-year-old seeking to make his third appearance for his new side.