Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski has told Polish tabloid Fakt that Wojciech Szczesny tried to convince him to join Arsenal.
Despite reports of rival interest from clubs including Real Madrid, Poland international Lewandowski finally signed a pre-contract with Bayern Munich in January after several months of speculation.
The 25-year-old has now revealed that Arsenal had also been in the race for his services and that Gunners goalkeeper Szczesny had sought to convince him to make the move.
"I can confirm that Wojciech Szczesny tried to convince me to join Arsenal," Lewandowski said in comments translated by The Guardian. "We had several talks about this. It was him who did most of the talking, how the club looks inside, what Arsene Wenger thinks of me.
"When we trained before the Champions League games at Colney, there were important people from Arsenal at our sessions as well."
However, the striker ultimately joined Bayern, as had long been expected. He had hoped to join last summer, but eventually agreed to see out the final year of his contract in exchange for a pay-rise.
Lewandowski told the paper that it was not the time to go into details about his transfer, saying: “There will be an official presentation, and then it will be no problem to talk about it.”
He has had to contend with plenty of media attention, with members of the press waiting outside when he underwent his medical last month, but he said: “I wanted to keep it quiet, without any fanfare, out of respect for Borussia Dortmund. But that didn’t really work out.
“I wanted to get all the paperwork done as soon as possible, just to get it dealt with.”
Lewandowski has in the past said that he now wants to remain fully focused on his current club until the end of the season and -- despite not scoring in Bundesliga since November -- he has weighed in with 11 Bundesliga goals as well as an important contribution in the Champions League.
He currently trails Hertha Berlin’s Adrian Ramos in the domestic scoring charts by one goal and hopes to end the season as the Bundesliga’s top scorer.
“It would be nice to get that title, although it is clear that I need to start scoring more regularly,” he said. “It would be a worthy farewell to the Dortmund fans.”