Confirmed by Club President: Arsenal “Almost” sealed deadline day signing for star defender.

Arsenal really did almost sign Hamza Mendyl on deadline day, but the deal fell through over work permit issues, according to Schalke president Christian Heidel.

Moroccan outlet DM Sport reported at the time that the LOSC Lille left-back even travelled to London to try and complete his transfer to Arsenal. However, in the end it was too complicated to finalise the deal in time, since the Morocco international doesn’t have a European passport.

It sounded like the kind of story you’d expect a tabloid newspaper to make up on deadline day, but after Mendyl later joined Schalke, Heidel seemed to confirm it’s all true.

“I think otherwise he would have gone to Arsenal,” Heidel said in response to questions about Mendyl’s work permits (via Goal).

Mendyl properly broke into the Lille first team for the first time last season. He had to work his way into the side, but by the end of the campaign he was on the back of a run of six league starts in seven games. Add to that 13 caps for Morocco and you can see why the 20-year-old started to catch the eye.

Having just moved to the Bundesliga, it’s very unlikely we’ll see Arsenal go back for Mendyl again in the winter window.

Nacho Monreal appears to be fit again, at least, so hopefully left-back isn’t an immediate concern for the team anyway.

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