United States World Cup star says ‘things worked out great’ after choosing to leave Arsenal

Former Arsenal midfielder Yunus Musah during a match Credit: Alamy
Former Arsenal midfielder Yunus Musah during a match Credit: Alamy

United States international Yunus Musah has revealed why he chose to leave Premier League club Arsenal in 2019.

The 19-year-old joined Arsenal’s academy at the age of nine but failed to make a single appearance for their first team.

He signed for Valencia on a free transfer three years ago and became a mainstay in their senior squad in the 2020-21 campaign, when he made 32 La Liga appearances.

Musah has established himself as an important player for his club and country and now has 20 caps for the USA.

The teenage midfielder played 75 minutes for his country against Wales on Monday and is currently preparing for Friday’s encounter against England.

Musah played for the Young Lions’ from under-15 to under-18 level before making his USA debut in November 2020.

He has now revealed that he left the Gunners as he felt ready for first-team football despite only being 16, but knew he wouldn’t get it any time soon in north London.

“I felt at the time maybe that I wasn’t able to be in the Arsenal first team so early,” Musah said.

“We’ll never know but that was one of the reasons I chose to move to Spain.

“The Arsenal team was really good and I felt at my age I could play first-team football and there was the chance to move to Valencia. Things turned out great.”

Bronx-born Musah also explained why he opted to represent the USA over England.

He said: “I made the decision because I was born in the US. That was one of the main things.

“Also, I got the opportunity at such a young age was something that I wanted to take. It was great when the manager called me and gave me that opportunity.

“I played for England for a few years. I had a really nice time with them, I have a lot of respect for them, for everything they’ve done for me.

“Gareth Southgate I never had any conversations with, no.

“That decision was very difficult, because, as I said, I had a great time with England and that country did a lot for me, so when the time came to make the decision it was difficult.”

Musah is friends with England duo Jude Bellingham – from the England age groups – and Bukayo Saka – from his time at Arsenal.

Who knows, we could see Musah in an Arsenal shirt in the future; he has not ruled it out.

He told CBS Sports earlier this month: “You never know. I had a great time at Arsenal developing there, I still have friends there, the coaches were great, being an Arsenal player, in general, is great.

“I loved playing for Arsenal. I’ve nothing against the club and if one day it turns out to be that it’s time to go back then it’s possible.

“For now I’m really happy at Valencia and I’m looking forward to carrying this season on in the same way we’re doing now.”

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