Juventus legend Giorgio Chiellini has admitted that he regrets turning down the chance to join Arsenal when they attempted to sign him at the age of 16.
Chiellini, who joined Juve in 2005, has become synonymous with the Italian champions, winning nine Serie A titles and four Coppa Italia trophies, as well as reaching the final of the Champions League twice.
However, the 36-year-old central defender has revealed that 20 years ago he had the opportunity to sign for Arsene Wenger’s Gunners, but turned them down because he did not want to leave boyhood club Livorno – a decision he now regrets.
In an interview with French magazine So Foot, Chiellini says:
“In hindsight, I was a fool to decline that offer. 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 into his 16th season with Juventus, but remained a player of interest for Arsenal long after their failed attempts to recruit him as a teenager.