Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that the Barclays Premier League champions had been interested in signing Robin van Persie before the Dutch striker joined Arsenal.
Van Persie moved to north London from Feyenoord in 2004 and the 28-year-old has scored 118 goals in 258 appearances for the Gunners.
The Holland international, though, could have moved to Old Trafford instead of Highbury as Ferguson made a check on him during his days in the Eredivisie.
But, says Ferguson, the club made a decision not to follow up their interest in van Persie after the striker failed to impress the United boss on the day of his trip to Holland.
"I remember going to see Van Persie play for Feyenoord reserves, way, way back," Ferguson told skysports.com.
"We were definitely interested, but the day we went to see him he didn't play the full game.
"He was either sent off or he walked off, I can't remember which. We ended up leaving it, we didn't make a move for him.
"I don't think we saw enough of him to make a decision, whereas Arsenal were much closer to the situation at the time and they eventually got themselves a terrific player."
Van Persie scored his 27th goal of the season when he netted against Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
However, he was unable to prevent his side succumbing to defeat, and Danny Welbeck scored the winner for the visitors with nine minutes remaining.