Cesc Fabregas claims Arsene Wenger passed up the chance to take him back to Arsenal in 2014, with the Gunners deciding not to take up an option of first refusal once the exit door opened at Barcelona.
Having emerged out of the academy system in north London to make more than 300 appearances and become Gunners captain, a Spanish midfielder was held in high regard at Emirates Stadium.
Fabregas had only moved on once a dream switch back to his Catalan roots at Camp Nou became a possibility in 2011.
When that adventure was over, the World Cup winner admits he was expecting to be snapped up by Arsenal.
Wenger, though, had different ideas and Fabregas ended up returning to English football at Chelsea – with offers from Manchester rivals United and City passed up.
Explaining to Arsecast why he did not end up on the books of Arsenal for a second spell, Fabregas said: “Once I decided to leave (Barcelona), Arsenal had the first option of any other club and I could not speak to any other club for one week to see if Arsenal want me or not.
“Arsene didn’t give an answer, we just had to wait one full week to see if they responded. Definitely this was my first option, in my mind I’m telling everyone I’m going to Arsenal - this is what I want.
“Arsene can see this. I didn’t want to be a beggar, they know the situation, in one week they haven’t said anything, straight away I knew they probably didn’t want me back. They waited the full week without giving me a response.
“After the week I had to take my chance, I had Manchester City, United and then I spoke to [Jose] Mourinho - which I didn’t think would ever happen.
“To be honest, after I left the room with Mourinho I said ‘that’s it, I don’t need to talk to anyone else, I’m going to Chelsea’.
“What he told me, the team he wanted to make, what he thought of me, how he wanted me to play, this is what I wanted.
“On top of that, it’s London, not Manchester, London was my home.”
Fabregas’ decision to play in blue in London instead of red did not go down well with some, but he has no regrets at having moved to Stamford Bridge and enhanced his medal collection with Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup triumphs.
“I knew this would have repercussions with Arsenal, it would have been the same with City or United but I wanted to go back to the Premier League,” added the 32-year-old, who is now on the books at Monaco.
“Thank god that I took that decision because those five years I was very happy there, we’ve won everything in England, the best team in English football when I was there. With the fans there was a connection that was impeccable.”