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Journalist says Arsenal were really close to signing Dejan Kulusevski

Jack Pitt-Brooke has told The Athletic’s The View From The Lane Podcast that Arsenal were really close to signing Dejan Kulusevski, and their reluctance to agree anything other than a straight loan allowed Tottenham to come in and land the Swede.

Tottenham, of course, pipped the Gunners to securing Champions League football next year. Spurs won on the final day of the campaign to wrap up fourth spot in the top-flight.

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There were several key moments in the season. Certainly, the appointment of Antonio Conte was pivotal. But the final day of the January transfer window was also crucial.

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Arsenal did nothing in the winter window. Meanwhile, Tottenham signed Rodrigo Bentancur and Kulusevski just before the month ended.

Bentancur has proved to be a smart signing. But Kulusevski has been a real difference-maker for Tottenham. The 22-year-old scored five goals and provided eight assists despite only playing the second-half of the campaign.

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Unsurprisingly, Kulusevski is set to sign permanently. And if his form is a sign of what is to come, Tottenham have produced a masterstroke in bringing him in.

For Arsenal, the deal will be a particular sickener. Not only has the winger helped Spurs to fourth. But he is also a player the Gunners wanted.

Arsenal fans were well aware of the links in January. But Pitt-Brooke has now opened up on how close he came to moving to the Emirates, as well as the reason why the Gunners did not get a deal across the line.

“Arsenal were really close to getting Kulusevski on loan. They’d been speaking to Juventus but they couldn’t agree a deal because Juventus wanted more guarantees in terms of an option or obligation, which Arsenal didn’t want to do,” he told The View From The Lane Podcast.

“Arsenal just wanted the loan, so that move stalled. And then Paratici – who’s obviously been a huge fan of Kulusevski his whole career – he came in, he managed to do a more amenable deal to Juventus. And Kulusevski was delighted to go to Tottenham.

“He wanted to come here and work with Conte. But if Paratici hadn’t come in, maybe Arsenal would have come in and done a deal.”

Arsenal really close to signing Kulusevski

Arsenal have done some smart business in the last 12 months. They are moving in the right direction. And they will be one team to watch this summer.

But not signing Kulusevski is clearly proving to be a mistake. Arsenal do have plenty of options in the areas Kulusevski thrives. But given that they struggled for goals from attack this season, it is hard to imagine the youngster not making a real impact.

Certainly, the Gunners’ need to produce something special this summer has increased given Kulusevski’s form since he ended up at Tottenham.

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