Arsen Zakharyan joined Real Sociedad on a €13m fee in the summer, despite Chelsea tracking the Russia international for over a year.
The playmaker told AS why he decided to go to Spain: “For me it was more interesting to come to Real than to Chelsea. It was also a more realistic option. And here I am.”
It was previously reported that Chelsea couldn't land Zakharyan because they couldn't find a way to pay Dinamo Moscow for his transfer, due to sanctions imposed on Russian banks after the invasion of Ukraine.
Journalist Nobel Arustamyan added about Zakharyan's failed move to the Bridge: “Last year I was already involved in negotiations with Chelsea. A year ago, Real were already interested in signing the player, but they didn’t dare to make a written offer for internal reasons, not only football ones.
“Now they have changed their mind. Chelsea wanted him after he played for a while in France, but Real was the most insistent.”
Unlike Chelsea, Real Sociedad play in the Champions League this season — that could have been the deciding factor for Zakharyan. Or maybe he was guaranteed more playing time there compared to the Blues.