Giorgio Chiellini says he was a fool to turn down Arsenal when the Gunners came calling at the age of 16.
The Italy centre-back was playing for Serie C side Livorno at the time and felt that any exit would have betrayed his boyhood club.
Chiellini, of course, went on to seal a move to Juventus in 2005 where he’s been a crucial first team star ever since.
The 36-year-old has played 518 times for the Old Lady and has won nine Serie A titles, four Coppa Italias and reached the final of the Champions League twice.
But despite all that, Chiellini regrets his decision to turn down Arsene Wenger ‘s Arsenal.
“In hindsight, I was a fool to decline that offer,” he told Goal. “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.”
But it wouldn’t be the only time Chiellini found himself on Arsenal’s radar.
Many years later, when Robin van Persie played for the club, the Dutchman pleaded with Wenger to bring in Chiellini.
“At a given moment I felt called upon to say what Arsenal could do better in order to win the league,” van Persie said.
“I felt we lacked a winning mentality, and asked Arsene Wenger to sign Giorgio Chiellini.
“I have played against him a few times, and he is a genuine winner.
“He is 36 years old, but he’ll dish out nine elbows every game with a smile on his face.
He’ll keep smiling and never get a yellow card. You need those types of winners and killers in your side.
“I felt we should get him.”
It wasn’t to be, however, and Chiellini is now playing in his 15th season at Juventus.