Cesc Fabregas has explained he was in discussions with Manchester United over a possible move to Old Trafford when he was 15 although he ultimately picked Arsenal after being wowed by the club's project.
The Red Devils had invited the Spaniard to Manchester while he was a young player in Barcelona's famed La Masia academy, only for him to have been so impressed by what the Gunners had to offer that he decided to choose the north Londoners.
When asked why he left Barca for Arsenal back in 2003, he told Rio Ferdinand's YouTube channel FIVE: "I was 15. I was the captain of that team. I was well valued. On top of me there was [Andres] Iniesta, other players that you could see they had the potential to make it.
"One day a scout from Arsenal came to talk to my parents and he wanted to discuss a few things with me. I always like to listen. After you make up your own mind but just out of respect [I like to listen].
"We did that and the guy told me he’d been to see me over 50 times. He said I was made to play for Arsenal and in the Premier League. He started showing me everything he studied from my game, he called Arsene Wenger to take me to London Colney and David Dein to make me an offer and show me the training ground.
"At that time I had Man Utd as well. I was supposed to make two trips, London and Manchester, and when I went to London Colney, in the middle of June, everyone was on holiday. Wenger was in Paris. He flew by private jet to meet me. David Dein (then Arsenal vice-chairman) came to meet me.
"This shocked me. Wow... Wenger. I’m 15 years old, I’m absolutely nobody, and this guy is breaking up his holiday to come and meet me. We were talking, he spoke to my mother, showed me the training ground. I fell in love with the whole project."
Fabregas would eventually decide to head back to Spain and re-join the Catalan giants in 2011 and he explained that his frustration at the Gunners not winning trophies, and their failure to lure big signings to the club, played a part in his departure.
He added: "It was a bit of everything. I always felt that we were competing against the world. Let’s say you guys (Manchester United), Chelsea, sometimes Liverpool.
"I speak to guys at Chelsea and my Spanish friends at Liverpool and everyone tells me the same… 'we used to hate playing against you guys'. And I say the same: 'Yeah, you used to hate it, but we always lost'. Especially in important moments.
"I always felt so frustrated to see these big teams winning and always having that edge. I was very young, I was very passionate. I gave absolutely everything for Arsenal. I was hungry. I wanted to win. I was a competitor. I would’ve done anything to win for Arsenal. I felt this wasn’t coming.
"We had opportunities to sign big players that would make such a big difference but for one little thing or another, very small details they were looking away. A lot of things frustrated me and I just decided to go back to Barcelona. They were the best team in the world at that time. With all my friends there.
"I took the chance but earlier than I would’ve wanted. I just felt it was the right time. My brain was a little bit gone. Deep down, thinking now, I think I should’ve waited two more years."