• Premier League

Mignolet downplays Arsenal link

ESPN staff
June 5, 2013
Simon Mignolet admits it was a hard season at Sunderland even if he has developed as a player © Getty Images

Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has revealed he has not held discussions with Arsenal, after being linked with a summer move to the Emirates.

The 25-year-old joined the Black Cats from Sint-Truiden in 2010 for a fee believed to be in the region of £2million. Belgian international has earned stellar reviews for his performances last season despite the fact the club only narrowly escaped relegation. Having been linked with a number of clubs including Liverpool and Arsenal in recent weeks, Mignolet admitted he had not held talks with Arsène Wenger.

"I am ambitious, and I read the press as you do," he told the Sunderland Echo. "It has been a difficult season with Sunderland. It's not much fun to play bottom of the League, and I think Sunderland will know they have to change something to prevent another season like that. The manager wants to change the team for the better. Let's hope he can do that next season.

"I have read about it [the speculation], but I haven't heard anything [official]. I know there has been talk about Arsenal, but I haven't heard anything or received a phone call from Arsène Wenger. I will stay calm and focused on the Belgium games, and after that, go on holiday with my girlfriend. We will see what happens."

Finishing his season by winning the North East Football Writers' Association Player of the Year for 2012, Mignolet could at least celebrate the season on a personal level, believing his performances this season season have highlighted his development as a player.

"I am happy with my season," he said. "I played 38 [league] matches. Few players can say they did that in a Premier League season. I also managed 11 clean sheets, which is not bad if you're playing at the bottom of the division. To do that, you have to be mentally strong, and I think it shows I have progressed a lot as a goalkeeper."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.