Derby County’s Krystian Bielik has revealed he turned down a new deal at Arsenal and had offers from across Europe before he joined the Rams last summer.
The 23-year-old arrived at Pride Park in a deal worth a reported £9.5 million in August.
Bielik has made 21 appearances this term and seemed to be finding his feet under Phillip Cocu before he suffered an ACL injury in January.
That injury looks set to keep him out until October, meaning the Cocu should have the Poland international back for the majority of the 2020/21 campaign.
Bielik is thought to be the Rams club-record signing and, speaking to Polish outlet Przeglad Sportowy, he discussed the circumstances that saw him arrive at Pride Park, highlighting the offers he turned down prior to the move.
He said: “Last summer, I couldn’t agree with Arsenal about signing a new contract. Apparently they wanted me in London, but somehow it wasn’t really visible.
“I had several offers then, including from England, Italy and France. But when it came to details and Arsenal gave me how much money he wanted for me, only Derby remained.
“Arsenal sensed that they were able to spend the largest amount for me, so he approached the matter purely business to earn as much as possible.
“Derby’s proposal was accepted and when the matter was called, I immediately decided that it would be a good step.
“It is true that I signed a contract with the Championship club, but a strong and ambitious, who lost the fight for the Premier League only in the playoffs. So I came with the thought that we would fight for promotion.”
The 23-year-old joined Arsenal from Legia Warsaw in 2015 and after coming through the academy system at the Emirates, cut his teeth in senior football with loan spells at Birmingham City and Charlton Athletic.
Bielik, who is comfortable in either midfield or defence, made just two appearances for the Gunners’ first-team before his exit last summer.
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Derby fans will love to hear how in-demand Bielik was before he made the switch to Pride Park last summer, especially that Arsenal were keen to hold onto him.
The 23-year-old had shown glimpses of what a bright prospect he is before he suffered the nasty injury in January.
Clearly, he is driven to get the Rams up to the Premier League, which you’d imagine is exactly what Cocu will be looking for in his squad.