Czech Republic youngster Martin Graiciar has told the Italian media Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was interested in signing him, after spending a period with the Premier League side’s academy.
Speaking to Calciomercato, Graiciar was asked about his time with Arsenal, when he was loaned to the London side’s youth academy for a season: “It’s one of the best clubs in the world. I arrived in London when I was 14 year old. I played with the U18 team, the U20 and with the Arsenal second team. After a few months of trials Wenger told me that I was an interesting player and that he thought he could sign me on a permanent deal.
“At the time, however, it was not possible for me because under FIFA rules, a club can only sign a player after who has turned 16 years old. Arsenal had been following me after my injury, but they didn’t sign me in the end.”
Despite not being offered a professional contract by Arsenal, Graiciar did get a big move to Serie A side Fiorentina this year.
The 18 year old joined the Italian club in the last window, but was loaned out to Czech side Slovan Liberec, in order to get first team experience, and has since played seven games for them.
Graiciar has also gone on to represent his country at youth level, and is a current Czech Republic U18 international.