'I want to join Lille' - Arsenal-linked striker David reveals preferred next destination as Gent exit looms

Jonathan David Gent 2019/20
The Canada international is determined to complete a move to Stade Pierre Mauroy this summer

Gent striker Jonathan David has named Lille as his preferred next destination, despite having been heavily linked with a move to Arsenal in recent months.

Goal reported back in March that Arsenal were tracking David's progress at Gent in preparation for the potential departure of either Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Alexandre Lacazette in the summer transfer window.

The 20-year-old admitted that the Premier League holds great appeal to him during an interview with The Guardian a month later, while outlining his ambition to become one of the top forwards in Europe.

David stated: "The Premier League is the best in the world and most competitive so obviously that is somewhere I would love to play in the future."

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The Canadian has enjoyed a prolific 2019-20 campaign with Gent, scoring 23 goals in 40 appearances, including three in the Europa League.

David is still under contract with the Belgian club until 2023, but he is already planning to take the "next step" in his fledgeling career later this year.

However, Arsenal will not be seeing the talented frontman star at Emirates Stadium any time soon, as he has now admitted that he wants to join Ligue 1 outfit Lille.

Gent have reportedly received a €25 million (£23m/$29m) bid from the French suitors, who are ready to hand David a five-year contract at Stade Pierre Mauroy, 

When quizzed on Lille's interest in his services, David told L'Equipe: "Yes, I want to come to Lille. I have had a very good season. For me, my next step, is Ligue 1.

"And the footballing project at Lille is fantastic. They are a very good team in France. I already speak French. That will help during my adaptation period.

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"And Lille is very close to Gent geographically. So I will be able to concentrate on the pitch."

The Gent starlet added on the ongoing negations between the two clubs: "Talks are difficult. The club says they want to keep me. Or be ready to sell me for a price that I don’t think is realistic (at least €30m) when you take into account the Covid-19 situation. That is making negotiations complicated.

"In any case, I made it clear that I want to go to Lille. They said to me that they would not block me. At the start, things were going quicker. Now, everything has slowed. As if they are waiting for a better offer. I don’t know where that is supposed to come from."