Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud has revealed he was close to joining the Gunners' next FA Cup opponents Middlesbrough before eventually completing his move to the Emirates Stadium.
The French international striker moved to North London from Montpellier in summer 2012 after becoming a sensation in the Ligue 1 side, having scored 21 domestic league goals in the previous campaign.
Arsene Wenger's side agreed then to pay a reported £12m to secure his services but Giroud himself has revealed the story might have been very different as he could have ended up a Boro player instead.
Asked by the club website about it ahead of the FA Cup clash against Middlesbrough on Sunday 15 February, Giroud replied: "Yes, that's true.
"Middlesbrough and Celtic [also wanted to sign me]. It was a great team... today they are close to coming back into the English Premier League. It will be nice to play against them and it will remind me of my previous years in Tours." However, he didn't confirm when the Boro offer took place.
Meanwhile, the 28-year-old has warned against taking victory over the Championship side for granted, pointing out Aitor Karanka's side already beat Manchester City 2-0 in the previous round of the competition with an impressive performance.
"If they are here it's because they succeeded in beating a great team like City, so we need to be aware of that," Giroud said.
"We need to play our game straight away from the beginning and not let them take confidence. It will be a tough game, especially in the FA Cup. We know that even though a team is playing in an inferior division, they will really want to beat us at home, especially Arsenal. We are really cautious and we want to start the game on the front foot."
After both City and Chelsea were knocked out of the competition in the fourth round, the Arsenal striker hopes to take advantage of the situation to keep the FA Cup trophy following last year's victory over Hull City.
"Every game is a tough game in the FA Cup. It's always a big fight. We have the spirit because we won it last year, we have more experience maybe and hopefully we will keep this trophy with us."