Cristiano Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes has revealed that the Real Madrid star was inches away from joining Arsenal before making a move to Manchester United.
The Portuguese has developed into one of the best players in the world following the transfer, with Arsene Wenger ruing one of the biggest lows of his career as the manager of Arsenal.
Ronaldo single-handedly led United to multiple trophies and eventually transferred to Madrid for a record fee in 2009 and has not looked back since then. The 29-year-old won his third Ballon d'Or title this season, his second with Real Madrid, and is going from strength to strength with every season.
Mendes, who also represents Jose Mourinho, revealed that it was ultimately down to finances which scuppered the move as Arsenal had more pressing concerns like building the Emirates stadium and could not spend much on transfers.
"There was a moment in which I really thought he was going to Arsenal. David Dein is a spectacular person but, with the construction of their stadium, they were left with very little money and it wasn't possible," Mendes said, as quoted by ESPN.
Mendes added that his transfer to Old Trafford was down to the assurances given by Sir Alex Ferguson, who promised him that Ronaldo would play 50% of the games in his first season at the club.
"The only person key to everything was Alex Ferguson. He told me that Cristiano was going to play at least 50 percent of the games for Manchester United and that's what I wanted to hear. That's why Cristiano went to Manchester United," Mendes continued.
It has been a week of major revelations for Arsenal, who can look back and wonder what could have been if they had managed to sign Ronaldo and Angel di Maria, who they could not sign following a work permit dispute.
The Gunners had to endure nine years without a trophy which came to an end last season, when they won the FA Cup for the 11th time and the fifth under Wenger, when they beat Hull City to dispel a major burden off their back.