Paris Saint-Germain defender Thomas Meunier has revealed that Everton’s lack of European football was the key reason why his long-rumoured switch to Goodison Park failed to materialise, as told to Het Laatste Nieuws (via Sport Witness).
Meunier had been linked with a potential move to Everton since January, and saw his name connected with La Liga side Atletico Madrid in May prior to their successful pursuit of England right-back Kieran Trippier.
Meunier was first connected with Everton in January amid discussions between the Toffees and PSG over the availability of Senegal midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye (Telefoot), and remained on the Merseyside outfit’s radar for the following months.
Reports in May later suggested PSG would look to cash in on the Belgium international in the recent summer window to help appease Financial Fair Play concerns, with Thomas Tuchel’s Les Parisiens open to offers in the region of €25m to €30million (£21.4m to £25.7m) while Atletico Madrid were being credited with serious interest (Le10 Sport).
Meunier’s future in the French capital was up for debate as he had entered into the final year of his contract, and PSG were reticent to losing the defender for free next year following Adrien Rabiot’s refusal to pen new terms and eventual departure for Juventus.
The right-back’s preferred option was always to remain at Les Parc des Princes, though, and has reiterated that during a recent interview with Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws, where Meunier added that he could have signed for Everton had he wished to.
“There was interest and there have been conversations, but it never came to a point where I had to decide: Do I sign or not? Always one of the parties did not agree,” the 28-year-old said. “No [it was not frustrating], because I have always made it clear that my ambition was to stay with PSG.
“I did not want to leave to leave, because playing at PSG is special. You are part of a team that can win a European competition, that is not something many players can say.
“I could have signed with Everton – a good club. I would have played a lot, that’s for sure, and had a lot of fun too. But Everton doesn’t play in European competition.”
Everton ultimately made a successful move to bring AS Monaco’s Djibril Sidibe to Goodison Park on a loan-to-buy deal worth a potential €16.5m (£14.1m, per L’Equipe), who made his first start in the Premier League against West Ham United on Saturday in the absence of the suspended Seamus Coleman (TransferMarkt).
While Meunier wanted to remain at PSG and saw his wish granted, the 28-year-old has not been a regular in Tuchel’s plans this season with the German only starting the right-back in four of his side’s ten Ligue 1 games thus far (WhoScored).
Whether he would have received more minutes in the Premier League under Marco Silva would have remained to be seen, as the Belgian did not out shadow the accomplishments of Sidibe last season, who has struggled to offer Coleman with frequent competition since moving to Goodison Park.
The on-loan defender featured in 26 Ligue 1 games for Monaco last season while Meunier made 22 outings for PSG, and while he recorded fewer successful tackles per ninety minutes than the Belgian (2.2 to 2.5), he averaged more interceptions (1.3 to 1.0), as well as more clearances (2.1 to 1.3) and blocks (1.5 to 1.1).
Everton fans, would you have spent big on Meunier or gone with Sidibe in the summer? Let us know in the comments below…
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