St Étienne winger and former Leeds star Max Gradel has confirmed his desire to return to England at the end of the season. St Etienne manager Christophe Galtier recently confirmed that the player had asked to leave, suggesting to French television that a move to England seemed likely.
Speaking to L’Équipe today, the Ivorian international confirmed that England is where his heart is set.
“I want to play in big competitions and push further. I will sit down at the table with St Étienne representatives to discuss and see if they harbour even greater ambitions for next season. Then I will take my decision. England welcome me, adopted me, made me feel confident and allowed me to realise my dream of becoming a professional footballer. This country is my heart’s desire. That is no secret.”
In January last year a loan deal was agreed with St Étienne for Gradel with all the necessary paperwork drawn up. It is claimed the player traveled to London ready to sign the deal but the deal collapsed at the last minute when West Ham tried to change the terms. Gradel later told the French media “I went to London thinking I was about to be loaned. However, when I got there, West Ham told me they wanted me to sign a four year deal. As the club looked like they could be relegated, I preferred not to take any risks.”
A number of media outlets have linked the player to move to West Ham or Bournemouth.