Saturday, 6 December 2008

Distin: Arsenal Wanted Me


Portsmouth defender Sylvain Distin has revealed that he was the subject of an approach by Premier League rivals Arsenal, but has insisted the enquiry by Gunners boss Arsene Wenger was “nothing serious” and that the North London club were just checking on his situation at Fratton Park.

30-year-old Distin has also revealed that he is happy in the Premiership after arriving at Newcastle United on loan in 2001, with the central defender admitting that he didn’t think he would stay in England for more than a season.

However, Distin is now in his eighth year in the Premier League, with the Frenchman joining Manchester City in 2002 before arriving at Pompey in 2007. While Distin is happy at Portsmouth he did reveal that former club Paris St Germain has a special place in his heart and if he were to return to play in France it could only be for PSG.

When asked if a move from Portsmouth to the Emirates Stadium with Arsenal had been a possibility, Distin told Foot Mercato: “There was nothing serious, just an approach in order to know what my situation was, but no serious offer.

“PSG remain in my heart, they are the club that made me grow and that educated me. If tomorrow I am to return to France, my priority will be Paris.

“The club have strengthened and are capable of beating anybody this season. I wish we played against them in the UEFA Cup!

“I really feel French but I am good in England. I arrived here by chance, for a loan with Newcastle.

“I never thought I would stay more than a season but it went well and I did stay. From now on, my career is here and I cannot see myself moving elsewhere.

“A year and a half ago, I was a free agent and two French clubs that I will not name contacted me. They just wanted information and there was nothing concrete.

“Anyway England was always my priority. I am not missing France, apart from the food and the weather (laughs). And here I am esteemed, so why leaving?

“And I will not lie, money plays an important part. So returning to France would be tough. I never said I want to leave, I am just not sure of the club’s economic situation.”

Distin also revealed that he was “disappointed” that Harry Redknapp left Portsmouth for Tottenham Hotspur in October and that Redknapp had not told him he was leaving to take charge at White Hart Lane, but insisted that you have to move on.

“Personally, Redknapp disappointed me because he did not tell us about his departure,” Distin added.

“Some players realised he had gone by watching TV in the evening or the morning after, just before the game. Then you have to move on.”

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