France Football has just named Xavi Simons as a nominee for the Kopa Trophy mere months after Arsenal were offered the chance to target a transfer for the midfielder.

The Kopa Trophy award goes to the best young player throughout the previous year with the nominees named on Wednesday. France Football revealed the list with nominees from a raft of European teams. But Jude Bellingham is widely viewed as the favourite to win the trophy.

No Arsenal players made France Football’s list as the 10 nominees now play for Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig, Benfica and RC Lens. Simons joined RB Leipzig on loan in July after returning to Paris Saint-Germain from PSV Eindhoven.

2023 Kopa Trophy nominee Xavi Simons in action for PSV Eindhoven before Arsenal offered transfer
Photo by OLAF KRAAK/ANP/AFP via Getty Images

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Xavi Simons is named as a nominee for the 2023 Kopa Trophy

PSG held an incredibly cheap £5m buyback clause after selling Simons to PSV in July 2022 for free. They let the ex-Barcelona youth gem leave, only to see the 20-year-old excel under the tutelage of Ruud van Nistelrooy. Simons scored 22 and assisted 12 goals in 48 matches.

Simons made two of his PSV appearances against Arsenal in the Europa League group stage last season. He also helped the Eredivisie outfit beat the Gunners 2-0 at the Philips Stadion in Group A. The youngster ran the match all night with his work rate and fantastic footwork.

Naturally, then, Arsenal showed an interest in securing Simons’ transfer from PSV before he returned to PSG. Paul Brown claimed at the start of July that the Gunners admired what the Amsterdam native could offer at Emirates Stadium. But Mikel Arteta prioritised other deals.

2023 Kopa Trophy nominee Xavi Simons in action for RB Leipzig after Arsenal offered transfer
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Arsenal passed on an offer to target Xavi Simons’ transfer

Sporting director Edu was still working on Declan Rice’s club-record transfer to Arsenal, who were also in the mix to sign Romeo Lavia at the time. So, the Gunners even passed up on the chance to discuss Simons’ transfer from PSV after agents offered the Dutch ace to Arsenal.

In the end, PSG activated their ridiculously cheap buyback clause and then loaned Simons to RB Leipzig. There, Die Roten Bullen’s managing director Max Eberl also praised Simons as an ‘exceptional young talent’. He has also hit the ground running after switching over to Saxony.

Simons has scored twice and laid on three assists through his three Bundesliga appearances so far this season. Now, France Football has named the four-cap Netherlands talent as one of the 10 nominees for its Kopa Trophy just months after Arsenal were offered his transfer.

2023 Kopa Trophy nominee Xavi Simons in action for RB Leipzig after Arsenal offered transfer
Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images

France Football’s 2023 Kopa Trophy nominees list:

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