Sir Alex Ferguson made a personal intervention in order to ensure Chris Smalling signed for Manchester United rather than Arsenal, it has been revealed.
The England defender joined United from Fulham in January 2010 for a fee reported to in the region of £10 million, but could have moved to the Emirates Stadium instead.
The 21-year-old, it is claimed, had initially agreed to join Arsenal, but Ferguson made a concerted effort to scupper the proposed deal and bring Smalling to Old Trafford.
"Arsenal must be regretting what happened to them over Smalling and Jones, and all credit to Sir Alex the way he went about landing them,'' a source close to the deal told ESPNsoccernet.
"It's common knowledge that Smalling and [Phil] Jones were wanted by Arsenal, but the way Sir Alex went about persuading them to go to United is something that Arsenal can only guess at.
''Arsenal had agreed to sign Smalling from Fulham and Smalling had agreed to go to Arsenal. Then Sir Alex stepped in.
"He came down to the Tottenham v Fulham FA Cup replay and, in the car park, it was agreed that Smalling would first talk to Sir Alex.
"He was in no mood to let Smalling out of his sights until he had agreed to go to United, and that is what happened.''
Smalling has made 21 appearances for United since joining the club, and has established himself as a more than capable deputy for Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.