Colombian outlet Gol Caracol on Tuesday featured an interview with Boca Juniors midfielder Sebastián Pérez.
Besides speaking of his past in his home country and his current situation at Boca, the 27-year-old has also recalled his short experience in English football.
It happened in 2013, when Arsenal scouted him in South America and invited him to train with the club for a month.
“Yes, I spent a month at Arsenal in England. They saw me in person at the U20 World Cup with Colombia and I was included. I had an opportunity to play a friendly against Manchester City,” Sebastián Pérez told Gol Caracol.
“But to play in the Premier League there are special requirements and among them… well, if you don’t have a European passport, you must have a certain number of matches for the first team in your country. At that time I didn’t play for the national team, I played for the U20s, so unfortunately I didn’t make it and I returned to Nacional.”
He says Arsene Wenger was very interested in keeping him at Arsenal beyond the trial period.
“Yes, we had a couple of conversations. My representative translated for me as he spoke because I didn’t understand anything. But yes, there was great interest. In the end there were extra problems that I told you it couldn’t happen. But I felt really good, I made the most of the month I was there. I learned a lot, I met the top footballers in the world and I felt really good, it’s another world there.”
In the game Sebastian Pérez played against Manchester City, he replaced Mikel Arteta in midfield.
“Yes, the current coach. Yes, it was the match we won 3-0 against Manchester City. All the figures from City played, Arsenal too, I remember that in the locker room, obviously for Spanish, I only spoke with Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla. And they knew that I had to go back to Colombia and wait for Arsenal’s response. They told me that it would be very good if I stayed in the team, because I liked the ball, that we understood each other well, that in training we got along well, and I thanked him and said well, I hope to return. It’s a memory that I’ll always keep.”
Sebastián Pérez used to play for Colombian side Atlético Nacional at the time, and in 2016, was part of a big move to Argentine giants Boca Juniors.
In recent years, he’s had loan spells at Pachuca and Barcelona. Now back at Boca Juniors, he’s unlikely to remain at the La Bombonera side for much longer, and is expected to leave them soon.
Despite having eight caps for Colombia, this should still not be enough for him to get a work permit for the Premier League these days.