It has not been a very good week for Arsenal fans. After Arsene Wenger declined to take up an option for Cesc Fabregas, they then had to watch the Spanish midfielder sign for London rivals Chelsea. To make things slightly worse, they have also missed out on another transfer target, OGC Nice defender Nemanja Pejcinovic. The Serbian defender signed with Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow on a free transfer and it must have Arsenal fans wondering what Wenger’s plans are for this summer.
The 26-year-old defender played for four seasons in the south of France after signing from FK Rad after a disappointing loan spell at German side Hertha Berlin in 2010. He made 100 league appearances for the club and helped them to an excellent fourth place finish last season.
Both Nice and Pejcinovic struggled at times this season, the Serbia lost his defensive partner, Renato Civelli, last summer, and Claude Puel failed to find a regular partner for the majority of the season.
It didn’t stop the centre-back impressing though, and he had caught the eye of Arsenal and other clubs around Europe. With his contract up this summer, he represented a very low-risk option for most clubs, he still has a few years left in his prime and the Premier League would have been an excellent option for the defender.
Pejcinovic now moves to the Russian Premier League to link-up with Lokomotiv Moscow and will wear the No. 5 jersey. His new side finished third in Russia last season and will play in the Europa League in the next campaign, something that Pejcinovic had made a priority for his new club.
From the player’s perspective, if there was any genuine interest from Arsenal it would have likely meant he would have started the majority of the games on the bench behind Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker, but at Moscow he should have a much better chance of establishing himself in the starting XI.
However, the prospect of playing in the Champions League and the Premier League may have been enough to change the defenders mind.
Arsenal will have to turn their attentions elsewhere, and it will be hard to find a defender as good as Pejcinovic this summer, especially one available on a free transfer.
Have Arsenal made a mistake not signing Pejcinovic?