Monaco’s Djibril Sidibe admits he rejected a move to Arsenal in the summer despite a desire to play Premier League football.
“I was really close to signing, and I had a headache given how late they came in for me,” Sidibe told Frederic Gouaillard from Le Parisien about the Gunners’ overture. “Normally, you jump at the chance, but after thinking about it, I wasn’t certain that I would get playing time. I would have played perhaps 25 games with the cups.”
Sidibe, who joined the principality club in July from Lille on a five-year deal for a €15 million fee, admits that while he sees a future in the English top flight, a move to north London didn’t correspond with his preferred position.
“And they saw me playing rather on the left while I want to establish myself on the right. So, I preferred to stay in Ligue 1 to get a maximum of experience and leave for the Premier League next year, because it’s a league that I’m really attracted to.”
Able to ply his trade at both full-back positions, Sidibe’s urge to play on the right side would have clashed with the exploits of Arsenal first choice right-back Hector Bellerin.
In his second first-team campaign, Bellerin, 21, has cemented his place as one of the Premier League’s best defenders, earning a spot on the PFA Team of the Year last season while starting all but two of Arsenal’s 38 league tilts.
Good things come to those who wait, and at the moment, few in football understand that better than the attack-first full-back. After getting his first France call up in August and a maiden appearance against Belarus, Sidibe is in Didier Deschamps’ starting XI for Monday’s pivotal Group A World Cup qualifier against the Netherlands in Amsterdam.
An injury to Bacary Sagna has opened the door for the 24-year-old Sidibe, who hopes to both learn from the Manchester City veteran will cementing his place in Les Bleus’ squad.
“Of course I hope to be number one in the future just as every player hopes to be a starter. But I’ve only played three matches, Bacary plays for Manchester City and continues to contribute to Les Bleus.”