Killian Sardella came up through Anderlecht’s youth system and broke into their first team in 2019.

The 18-year-old made 20 appearances in all competitions last season while operating on either side of the defence.

And yet, before he broke into Anderlecht’s first team, Arsenal had an opportunity to sign the defender.

This was confirmed by the Belgium U21 international’s father, Dino, during an interview with DH, and Sardella Sr explained why the teenager’s move to the north London club did not materialise.

“Two years ago, Arsenal wanted to take him but it was to make him a defensive midfielder. The English club considered him too small to play behind [in the defence],” he said.

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“At Anderlecht, it was never a problem. He has a big jump. It’s in the genes, thanks to my background as a volleyball player. (laughs) Killian is also starting to build up a lot of muscles, that helps too.”

Over the years, the Gunners have missed out on many players who have then gone to develop into quality players elsewhere. Arsenal would be hoping to have made the right choice by turning down a chance to sign Killian.

Although Killian has been deployed on the left and right side of the back four, his father states the youngster initially started training as centre-back and stressed that’s the position where he seems to be more comfortable.

“He had learned to appreciate the fullback position, but he still had a lot to learn. He was not as liberated as in the middle,” Dino explained

“In the youth, he was often compared to Kompany because he was so comfortable with the ball at his feet. A delegate who had Kompany and then Killian would tell me every time: ‘I think I’ll see Vincent again!’ The technical qualities are there.”