Robert Pires has admitted that came close to joining Juventus in the summer in the same deal that took Patrick Vieira to Turin.

Pires claims that talks were at an advanced stage, but Arsene Wenger decided that he wanted to keep the Frnech international at Highbury.

“This summer there were really close contacts with Juventus,” Pires said.

“But I had another year’s deal with Arsenal and Wenger didn’t allow me to leave.

“It wasn’t my decision, but I’m happy for what happened because many people told me I would have problems in playing, instead I am playing and Henry continues scoring thanks to my assists.”

Pires, whose Arsenal contract expries next summer, says he will make a decision about his future in January, but admits that he would head for Spain or Italy if leaves Highbury.

“For the moment I give everything for the jersey I’m wearing,” he told Corriere dello Sport.

“In January I’ll meet Wenger and the club, and we will talk and we will decide.

“Should I have to leave, I wouldn’t stay in England. I’d like Italy or Spain.

“But now I think about Arsenal, then we will see.

“Juve are a big team and should they come back and follow me, I’d be ready to listen to them.

“I like Italy and Juve, but I repeat, I don’t offer myself. I’m here, should they want me – but before I want to talk with Arsenal.”

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