Liverpool midfielder Ovie Ejaria is said to have turned down a move to Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain in 2015, preferring to remain in England.
The 19-year-old made his debut for the Reds last season, in the 3-0 win away to Derby County in the League Cup, and went on to make eight appearances.
This included five starts, and two outings in the Premier League, though Ejaria’s impact was dampened by an ankle injury suffered in January.
Ejaria is primed for a more prominent role under Jurgen Klopp in 2017/18, but it could have been much different for the technician.
According to All Nigeria Soccer, Ejaria rejected an approach from PSG two years ago, with the teenager eager to settle in England after making the move from Arsenal to Liverpool.
They claim to have spoken to a source close to the French side, who suggested Ejaria’s reluctance to move was characteristic of his generation.
“We made an approach for Ovie two years ago—flat out he didn’t want to leave England,” they revealed.
“The only issue with British players that we’ve approached is their unwillingness to leave England.
“But we are working on changing that trend with the new generation more open to move abroad than the previous.
“I remember trying to lure a young Ashley Young to France but he would hear nothing of it.”
Ejaria is an impressive young talent, boasting both the skill and physicality to shine in Klopp’s midfield, and his role next season will be an intriguing one.
The German is currently looking to add to his midfield ranks, with RB Leipzig’s Naby Keita and Arsenal‘s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain both on the radar.
Philippe Coutinho is also expected to move into a deeper role in the middle of the park, with Roma winger Mohamed Salah set to arrive in a £35 million deal to take up his spot on the left flank.
Provided Emre Can stays amid interest from Juventus, Klopp will retain his core midfield group from last season, too, including Can, Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana.
While Lucas Leiva and Kevin Stewart are likely to leave, Marko Grujic is set for more regular first-team football, ensuring plenty of competition.
Nevertheless, Ejaria’s potential—as part of an England squad that won the U20 World Cup earlier in June—demands increased game time.
And with Liverpool fighting on four fronts in 2017/18, he can expect to improve on his eight appearances from last term.