Florent Thauvin has defended his reputation after forcing through a summer move to Marseille.
"This week I have had Arsene Wenger on the phone twice. He expressed his interest in the player to us, but it has not gone beyond that."
That was Bastia president president Pierre-Marie Geronimi speaking in January regarding Florent Thauvin, shortly before he sold the player to Lille, who loaned him back to the club.
Then this summer before even playing a single game for Lille, amazingly Thauvin expressed a desire to move on from the club - his heart set on playing for a Champions League club, namely Marseille.
The player and his representatives forced through the move shortly before the transfer deadline, leaving a bitter taste among Lille fans.
Thauvin will line up for Marseille in midweek against Arsenal, as the young Frenchman prepares to make his Champions League debut.
Speaking to the French press this weekend ahead of that opportunity, the 20-year-old has been speaking about the transfer saga which has harmed his reputation.
"Having a problem with his employer (is something) that happens to everyone.
"We must face the facts, the sporting project in which I wanted to sign is not at all what it is today at Lille."
Thauvin was explicitly disappointed in Lille's manager Rudi Garcia, the man who led them to the 2011 double - and the man who signed him in January - upping sticks and moving onto manage Roma over the summer.
This accelerated his desire to move on, but Thauvin's public image in France took a battering, labelled a 'brat', at throwing his toys out of the pram for not getting what he wanted, despite signing a contract.
It's easy to feel sorry for him, and Thauvin got what he wanted, a fast-track to Champions League football, but there is no denying he handled it badly.
He went onto bat off the 'brat' accusations, although the nature of his comments may indicate they are in some ways justified:
"It (the saga) will leave a legacy. But I want to leave all that behind me, I feel that I am good and (the decision was) right, despite what you may think."
Self-assurance and confidence is no bad thing, Thauvin will just have to make sure he seizes his chance in the Champions League this week; and that extra determination could end up being bad news for the club which were interested in him, Arsenal.
image: © T1o