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Wenger faces defensive dilemma

Arsenal
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By ESPN Staff

Lupoli signs pre-contract agreement with Fiorentina

Italian teenager Arturo Lupoli has revealed he turned down the offer of a contract extension from Arsenal in order to join Fiorentina this summer.

The 19-year-old striker has agreed a five-year contract with the Serie A club after a three-year spell in England.

Lupoli will join Fiorentina in July on a free transfer once his season-long loan spell at Championship high-flyers Derby ends.

'Arsenal offered me an important contract extension but I didn't think about it,' said Lupoli to Italian sports newspaper Gazzetta Dello Sport.

'I am already looking for a house in Florence.'

Lupoli admitted his decision to return home was taken six months ago.

'Last summer I went with Arsenal to Austria and Arsene Wenger told me the need for me to play elsewhere on loan in order to have more playing time,' he said.

'I have adapted well to England but I have made a life choice and I couldn't say no to Fiorentina.'

Lupoli has no regrets about his spell in England, having left Parma at the age of 16 to join the Gunners.

'It has been three important years,' he said. 'I have learned so much from champions like Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp.'

The Italy under-21 international claimed he had been a target for several Serie A clubs, including local rivals Inter and AC Milan.

'Inter, Milan, Udinese, Napoli and Torino had shown an interest in me, so did Valencia,' he said.

'But in the end, I chose Fiorentina.

'Florence is a beautiful city, it is an ambitious club that points towards youth.'