£5.7m man admits things have got much better for him since he left Arsenal

Sam Preston December 3, 2020
£5.7m man admits things have got much better for him since he left Arsenal
Photo by PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP via Getty Images

Stephy Mavididi left Arsenal for Juventus in August 2018, during the opening months of Unai Emery’s reign.

He didn’t play a senior game for the Gunners, and was handed an opportunity to join the Italian champions’ B team.

Mavididi ended up playing for the senior side as a substitute in April 2019, becoming the first Englishman to do so since David Platt.

He joined Montpellier for £5.7 million in June, after a successful loan spell at Dijon, and told the Guardian he wouldn’t have had the opportunities he’s had if he’d stayed at Arsenal.

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“I tend not to look at the regrets because if I had stayed at Arsenal then I probably wouldn’t be where I am now,” he said.

“When you’re at big clubs, you’ve got to have everything going in your favour – you need a manager who is willing to play you (and) some luck and that’s not always the case.

“Moving abroad gave me a fresh start. It helped me to discover a different way of living and playing football at a very good level instead of dropping down the leagues.”

“My ultimate goal is to get into England’s senior team, but for now the best pathway is the Under-21s so I want to try and get into that squad. We have a very exciting generation of players and I feel like I’m part of that.”

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Mavididi is still just 22 but he has trained alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and is now playing regular football in Ligue 1 with Montpellier.

Arsenal have the likes of Eddie Nketiah, Gabriel Martinelli and Florian Balogun as young strikers coming through – so he’s probably right to say he wouldn’t have got the same opportunities if he’d stayed put.

He deserves credit as a young English player for going abroad, learning a new style of play and seeking out regular football.

As Mavididi rightly said, England have a host of talented youngsters right now and adding to his two Ligue 1 goals this season should put him in contention for the Under-21 European Championship in March.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.