Back in early August, claims emerged from France that Newcastle, who were desperately looking for a new centre-back, tried to sign Christopher Jullien from Toulouse.

The French defender was also linked with Southampton, among other teams, a couple of months earlier, seemingly ready to follow former teammate Issa Diop to the Premier League after the youngster signed for West Ham.

However, the transfer window deadline came and went, and the 25-year-old is now expected to spend another season in the south of France.

Speaking to RMC Sport, relayed by Les Violets, Jullien explained why he didn’t move to either Newcastle or Southampton.

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He said: “We spoke of an exit, but I’m here. There was interest, but that’s how it is. We spoke with the manager, realised I was missing a few things.

“He knows football and some players who left for the Premier League, and I’m not ready. I’m here to learn. The day I’ll be ready, maybe I’ll go see elsewhere. For now, I’m very happy here.”

Staying in Ligue 1 via a relegation playoff win against Ajaccio, Toulouse were widely expected to once again fight against the drop this season.

However, three wins, one draw and a loss in their first five games mean they are currently fourth in the table, three points ahead of Lyon and five points ahead of 15th placed Monaco.

It’s still early days, but perhaps this extra season might just be what Jullien needed, meaning Rafa Benitez and Mark Hughes can come back next summer to try their luck once more at signing the towering centre-back.