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Adil Aouchiche is the French wonderkid, likened to Zinedine Zidane, who left PSG for Saint-Etienne and snubbed Arsenal

, Adil Aouchiche is the French wonderkid, likened to Zinedine Zidane, who left PSG for Saint-Etienne and snubbed Arsenal

AREN’T they crying out for a creative spark in midfield at the Emirates?

Adil Aouchiche, 19, was linked with the Gunners last year, when he decided to leave boyhood club PSG for Saint-Etienne.

Playmaker Adil Aouchiche has established himself as one of the best youngsters in France at Saint-Etienne
Aouchiche gambled on his career by leaving PSG for first team football

But the playmaker, called the next Zinedine Zidane, chose to stay in France and continue his football education in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.

The Gunners’ loss was the French side’s gain, as Aouchiche established himself as a first team regular.

It was a gamble that paid off for the mercurial talent, who is destined to be the next French superstar.

PSG WERE GUTTED TO LOSE HIM

It says a lot for Aouchiche’s potential that PSG fought tooth and nail to keep him.

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But with the dissolution of their U23 side due to the club believing the costs of running a youth team outweighed the benefits, a number of their exciting youngsters were up for grabs.

Aouchiche was in the last year of his contract, when Saint-Etienne pounced.

PSG had offered him a long-term deal, but he wanted assurances that he would get a run in the first team.

None came, and Saint-Etienne managed to get their man for a nominal fee.

, Adil Aouchiche is the French wonderkid, likened to Zinedine Zidane, who left PSG for Saint-Etienne and snubbed Arsenal

PSG understood Aouchiche’s talent and were desperate to keep him

ARSENAL SNUB

When Aouchiche was weighing up his options, there were two Premier League offers on the table.

It was reported that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was desperate to add the wonderkid to his ranks, and felt he could be a relative bargain.

Leicester City’s Brendan Rodgers was also interested in bringing Aouchiche to the King Power.

, Adil Aouchiche is the French wonderkid, likened to Zinedine Zidane, who left PSG for Saint-Etienne and snubbed Arsenal Read our Transfer news live blog for the very latest rumours, gossip and done deals

European giants Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Bayer Leverkusen, Lille and Rennes also expressed their interest.

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However, the teen chose Saint-Etienne, which was seen as a major coup for the struggling side.

RECORD BREAKER

Although he’s more used to setting goals up, recording five Ligue 1 assists last season, Aouchiche is an able finisher.

In 2019, he shattered the Uefa European Under-17 Championship goalscoring record by netting nine times in the tournament.

He also equalled Michel Platini’s 1984 record of most in a Uefa football final competition.

Aouchiche scored against England, netted a hat-trick against Sweden, grabbed a goal against Netherlands and four in the 6-1 rout of the Czech Republic.

His country crashed out in the semi-finals, where he drew a blank against Italy.

, Adil Aouchiche is the French wonderkid, likened to Zinedine Zidane, who left PSG for Saint-Etienne and snubbed Arsenal

Aouchiche has starred at youth level for France and equalled a Michel Platini record

NO REGRETS

A year on from his move, Aouchiche has no regrets about leaving Paris.

After all, he made 35 appearances for Les Verts in his first campaign and learned some valuable lessons working under Claude Puel.

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He said: “I progressed on my weak points defensively, as well as physically. Now I keep the ball better under pressure.

“I also learned to have less of the ball and to move better on the field. I learned to defend more.

“Here, I learned that a ball in a match is very precious and important, you can’t lose it like that. At PSG, if you lose a ball, you know that you will have plenty of others and that you will be able to try new things.

“Here, if you lose it, the opposition can score against your team. I made good progress thanks to the coach, he spoke to me a lot. I am an important player in the eyes of the coach and in the eyes of the club, I feel really good here.”

, Adil Aouchiche is the French wonderkid, likened to Zinedine Zidane, who left PSG for Saint-Etienne and snubbed Arsenal

Aouchiche has enjoyed a stellar debut campaign for Saint-Etienne

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