Juanfran reveals Arsenal approach
ESPN FC Extra: Gunners go to France
Atletico Madrid right-back Juanfran has confirmed he turned down an offer to join Arsenal last summer.
Reports in Spain had suggested that the Premier League side offered to quadruple the defender's previous salary during preliminary talks with his representatives, however Juanfran chose to remain at Atletico and last week signed a new improved contract which runs until June 2017 and contains a €10 million release clause.
The Madrid-born Spanish international told AS that he had been flattered by the interest from the Gunners, but he had ultimately decided Atletico was the best place for him to stay.
"It is true that I had an offer from Arsenal, which any player would like to accept, but I like it here," Juanfran said. "For me, you know, there is no better club than Atleti."
Despite the signing of Mesut Ozil from Real Madid, Arsenal failed to strengthen their defence as expected. Bacary Sagna and Carl Jenkinson remain Arsene Wenger's only options at right-back, a position that Aaron Ramsey was required to deputise in last season.
Likely a factor in Juanfran’s decision was Atletico making their first Champions League appearance since 2009-10 this term, when Diego Simeone's side take on Porto, Zenit Saint Petersburg and Austria Vienna in Group G.
The former Real Madrid youth-teamer, now 28, said he was excited about making his bow in Europe’s top club competition on Wednesday night against Zenit at the Estadio Vicente Calderon.
"I am very excited and motivated," Juanfran said. "Atleti are a cup team, and it has been some years without the Champions League at the Calderon. We are going to enjoy it as much as our fans will. We have a team and supporters to go as far as possible in the Champions League."