Taarabt reveals failed Arsenal move; slams Spurs coaching

Adel Taarabt has revealed that he could have joined Arsenal instead of rivals Spurs as a 17-year-old.

The Moroccan international, now playing for Benfica, started his career in France with Lens.

His impressive performances soon attracted interest from Europe’s biggest clubs, including those in the Premier League.

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Taarabt opted to join Spurs in January 2007 on an initial loan deal. He was then signed permanently in that summer for £3.6million.

However, the playmaker has revealed that he had plenty of other options as a youngster, including Arsenal.

Speaking to talkSPORT, Taarabt said: “When I was in France, for us, we were watching the Premier League top four. Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool.

“It was almost all done that I would go to Arsenal and then after Damien Comolli, who was working at [Tottenham], convinced me to come.

“At that time I was playing at France Under-17s and I could have gone to all the big three in any leagues.”

Taarabt soon revealed his potential with Spurs by putting in some great individual performances.

A successful loan spell with QPR followed in 2009, but the player failed to break into Spurs’ first team on his return.

He added: “When I signed I said ‘okay, I’ll go there because the project that they showed me, they want to believe, they are picking young players like Gareth Bale, Kyle Walker, they want to do something really good’.

“But, obviously, the first six months to adapt it was difficult for me. I don’t think the club was helping me to develop and finish me as a player.”

Taarabt left for QPR permanently in August 2010. He went on to make 16 appearances for AC Milan too before joining Benfica in 2015.

He has become an important player for the Portuguese side in recent seasons. Once known for his exciting play going forward, Taarabt is now focusing on his defensive game and linking up defence with attack.

He’s featured 21 times in the league this campaign and appeared in the Europa League twice against Arsenal.

The Gunners went on to win the round of 32 tie 4-3 on aggregate.


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