Great Britain

Arsenal ‘failed in £17m bid’ for starlet Joelson Fernandes because his father wanted him to sign new deal with Sporting

ARSENAL missed out on Portuguese starlet Joelson Fernandes after his father advised him to sign a new contract at Sporting Lisbon.

Liverpool, Manchester City, Ajax and Barcelona are all said to have taken an interest in the winger, 17.

But Joelson's dad Eusebio Fernandes wanted to honour his current club and agree a new deal.

A £17million bid arrived from Arsenal with Eusebio speaking of proposals that would 'make any businessman tired'.

And Joelson stayed in Lisbon with a new contract containing a £54.5m release clause.

The player's father told Portuguese newspaper O Democrata: "It was an extremely difficult and very complicated process.

"Because there were tough moments in the negotiations for Joelson Fernandes to stay at Sporting.

"My wish was always for him to stay at the club, but due to his quality as a footballer, he had calls from several European clubs."

Joelson Fernandes broke into the Sporting side last season, making his debut in July as part of four substitute appearances.

Eusebio claims that Jurgen Klopp wanted to make the forward a back-up to Sadio Mane in his Liverpool team.

Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain were described as making the biggest bid - with wages worth £87,000-a-week.

But the wonderkid's dad felt the best option was to stay with Lisbon, rejecting a transfer that Sporting president Frederico Varandas was resigned to.

He continued: "It had to be a deliberate decision, because my wish as a father and businessman, on the day that Joelson Fernandes leaves Sporting, is to be friendly and out through the front door, not through the back door.

"This was always one of my goals and one of the convictions that led the player to continue to represent the club.

"In the meeting I had with Varandas, he explained to me that when he arrived in England last season to close Rui Patricio's transfer to Wolvers, he was confronted with the English club's interest in Joelson.

"He told Nuno Espirito Santos that he had no intention of selling. So Sporting did not believe that he would remain in the team because of these clubs and their millionaire proposals.

"As a businessman, I ended up rejecting these offers, even knowing that I needed those millionaire offers. I thought that in life money is not everything."

Sporting Lisbon's Joelson Fernandes shows off his goal scoring skills on the pitch

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