Clement Grenier and Alexandre Lacazette could have been teammates at Arsenal right now if things had turned out differently.
Five years before the latter joined the Gunners from Ligue 1 giants Lyon for an initial £46.5million fee in the summer of 2017, the midfielder was being tipped with a move.
Grenier and Lacazette are both products of the Lyon academy and were tipped to join another European club at some point in the careers – even at a young age.
However, Grenier was on the verge of joining Nice in the summer of 2012 as the next stage of his development, but the deal collapsed when Yoann Gourcuff suffered a knee injury in August of that year.
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Speaking to L’Equipe about that transfer failure, the 30-year-old revealed he held talks with Arsenal that same summer.
“Yes, Yo [Yoann] gets hurt, I replaced him. I played freely because it might have been my last game with Lyon. After that, [Rémi] Garde told me: you stay,” Grenier said, as per Sport Witness.
“It was perhaps the highlight of my career at Lyon, where I felt a coach who trusted me 100% and let me express myself freely.
“Later, when I was perhaps hesitant to go abroad, like to Arsenal or to other clubs, with whom I was in discussions, I stayed because his confidence was so enormous that I did not want to lose it.
“And thanks to him, I made my debut for the national team.
“Claude Puel and Bruno Genesio, when he coached the reserve, also allowed me to expand my game and learn to defend.”
Grenier has left France one in his career and that was when he spent the second half of the 2016-17 season on loan with Serie A side AS Roma.
He currently plays for Rennes and came up against Lacazette and Arsenal in both Europa League round of 16 ties during the 2018/2019 campaign when the Gunners reached the final.