Pep Guardiola reveals Man City wanted to sell Oleksandr Zinchenko before Arsenal summer exit but he refused to leave
- City wanted to sell Zinchenko
- The player initially refused to leave
- Ended up joining Arsenal last summer
WHAT HAPPENED? The Ukrainian defender reunited with former Manchester City assistant Mikel Arteta at Arsenal after securing a move in the summer transfer window. However, the Blues had planned to ship him away earlier after a poor run in the 2019-20 season. Guardiola has revealed that Zinchenko was told his minutes would be reduced, but he decided to stay and fight for his place rather than accept an exit.
WHAT THEY SAID: The City boss told a press conference ahead of his team's top-of-the-table clash with Arsenal: "Everybody is in love [with him] at City. He was an important figure in our club. What I like most about Alex is in the first years, we maybe wanted to move him from here because we thought he wasn’t going to play much. He said, ‘No, I want to fight for my position!’ I said, ‘Alex, it’s difficult, I have many players in your position.’ He said, ‘No, I’m going to play here.’ He trained really well, never had a bad face, aspiring when he plays, always had good behaviour.
"Normally when you don’t play, you don’t say you’re going to play and say, ‘Ah I don’t want to do it’. He was completely the opposite, seeing him in the gym working extra-time."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Zinchenko featured in 128 games for City across all competitions, scoring two goals and providing 12 assists. He won 10 major titles with the club including four Premier League crowns and one FA Cup. However, Zinchenko ultimately agreed that he needed a new challenge last summer, and he has been able to reach new individual heights since linking up with Arsenal by playing a key role in their rise to the top of the table.
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WHAT NEXT? Zinchenko will be in action against his former employers on Wednesday when Arsenal host Manchester City at Emirates Stadium.