“I didn’t feel ready.”
Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini has revealed why he rejected an opportunity to join Arsenal as a teenager.
Chiellini admitted that the Gunners were interested in his services when he was playing in Serie C 20 years ago, but he opted against the move in the end.
At the time, he felt he wasn’t “ready” to make the move to England and betray his boyhood club Livorno in the process.
Chiellini at Juventus.
Chiellini has established himself as one of the best defenders in the sport in recent years. The 36-year-old secured a move to Italian giants Juventus in 2005 and hasn’t looked back since.
His trophy haul includes nine Serie A titles, four Coppa Italias as well as two Champions League final appearances, and serves as a testament to his abilities and ambition.
After over 500 appearances for the Old Lady, Chiellini has managed to etch his name into the club’s history with his defensive exploits and consistency.
However, things might’ve turned out quite differently for the ex-Roma man had he accepted Arsene Wenger’s offer to come and play in England.
“In hindsight, I was a fool to decline that offer,” Chiellini told French magazine So Foot.
“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.”
Chiellini is now in the twilight of his career and it seems highly unlikely that he will ever get the chance to play in the Premier League before he hangs up his boots for good.
Back in 2019, the former Fiorentina man explained his post-retirement plans.
“[I will play] a couple of years – not more,” he told La Gazzetta Dello Sport.
“I would like to have a managerial career as a director.
“You have an important know-how from a footballing point of view, but you have to put in the other pieces. It’s like a puzzle. You don’t have to be in a hurry. One step a day.”