Arsene Wenger made a personal intervention in order to keep Park Chu-Young from the clutches of Lille and Liverpool, it has emerged.
The north Londoners today confirmed the signing of the South Korean striker from Monaco but, on Friday, it appeared that Park would be joining Lille.
The Ligue 1 champions had been in negotiations to bring the 26-year-old to the Stade Lille-Metropole, but Arsenal made their interest known and Wenger was given permission to speak to Park.
"We could not imagine what happened," Park's agent Maurizio Morana told France Football.
"As [Lille agreeing a fee] was not the case, Arsenal started to negotiate, then asked to contact the player.
"Could you imagine how a player from Monaco could refuse such a club?
"When Arsene Wenger directly calls a player and asks him to join Arsenal, it is difficult to refuse."
Lille, meanwhile, will now reportedly focus their attention on signing Joe Cole from Liverpool, having missed out on Park.
According to BBC Sport, the versatile Liverpool midfielder could leave Anfield on a season-long, with Lille keen to add another creative influence to their ranks.
Also on the radar of the French double winners is former Liverpool playmaker Yossi Benayoun, who is being watched by Arsenal.
However, the Israel international could yet seal a return to Anfield before the transfer deadline, with Chelsea keen to sign Raul Meireles by offering Benayoun in part-exchange.