Reported £60m target was 'very close' to joining Arsenal in 2017 - for just £4m

A general view outside the Emirates Stadium prior to the UEFA Europa League group F match between Arsenal FC and Vitoria Guimaraes at Emirates Stadium on October 24, 2019 in London, United...

Mikel Arteta's Arsenal could reportedly look to lure Villarreal's La Liga star Samu Chukwueze to the Premier League - second time lucky perhaps?

Samu Chukwueze of Villarreal CF during the La Liga match between Villarreal and Eibar at Estadio de la Ceramica on May 12, 2019 in Vila-real, Spain

The bigwigs at Arsenal might not be too happy with Santi Cazorla today. Because it seems the former Gunners favourite has just revealed the identity of two of Mikel Arteta’s transfer targets.

Cazorla has watched Samu Chukwueze grow from boy to man to undisputed La Liga star at Villarreal over the last 18 months and, speaking to Marca, the veteran playmaker revealed that his former employers have been in touch to discuss a summer move for Nigeria’s answer to Arjen Robben.

“Yes, friends from Arsenal especially (have made contact regarding Chukwueze),” Cazorla said, who admits that centre-back Pau Lopez has also been the subject of interest from the English capital.

“They ask me about them and think they can make the jump to the Premiership tomorrow.”

 

Should Arsenal come calling, and it looks like they will, a summer move to North London would see Chukwueze’s journey come full circle.

Back in 2017, a little-known teenager was pursuing a dream move to Europe and, shortly before he pulled on the iconic yellow shirt of Villarreal for the very first time, Chukwueze saw a switch to Arsenal slip through his fingers.

"It was very close for me to sign for Arsenal, I almost had the contract in my hands,” the now-20-year-old told Tribal Football. "Unfortunately, it did not work out fine with my academy due to the side of agreement and payment. They did not agree with the terms of the contract.

"I was very happy thinking of signing and dreaming of playing for Arsenal, but my academy did not allow it to happen.”

Samuel Chukwueze of Villarreal during  spanish La Liga match between Villarreal CF and  Atletico de Madrid at La Ceramica  Stadium on December  6, 2019.

According to Guardian Nigeria, Arsenal saw a deal collapse over just £4 million. Now, two years on, Chukwueze is valued at closer to £60 million.

The Gunners would be paying for potential, rather than the finished article, but the former is something this Robben-esque winger with an eye for the spectacular has in spades.

Ten months ago, Chukwueze shot to fame in a 4-4 draw with Barcelona, ripping the La Liga champions apart to catapult himself into the mainstream. More performances like this between now and May and that £60 million price-tag will start to look like a no-brainer.

Samu Chukwueze of Villarreal CF celebrates a goal during the La Liga match between Villarreal and Barcelona at Estadio de la Ceramica, on April 2, 2019 in Vila-real, Spain

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