Arsenal came close to signing Raheem Sterling before he ever became Liverpool's most exciting young starlet and an England international to boot, but eventually passed on the teenager and decided he wasn't a target worth pursuing.
That information has come to light this weekend thanks to an admission from Arsenal legend and long-serving academy director Liam Brady, who used a wide-ranging interview in the Irish Examiner to share that he believes Sterling would have joined the Gunners if he chased down the deal years ago.
Brady speaks out
More senior Arsenal fans will have wonderful memories of Brady gliding from midfield to attack and keeping possession throughout the 1970's, but he's perhaps provided an even greater service to the club as head of youth development for the last 18 years.
Brady opted to step down from the position at the end of last summer as part of a much-needed academy overhaul at London Colney, which prompted the left-footed wizard to recall how he very nearly made Sterling as an Arsenal player when he was a precocious young talent looking for a home.
He revealed: “I’ve let kids go at 14 who are making a very good living in the game. In recent times.
"I think I could have got Raheem Sterling if I’d really gone for him, but I didn’t go through with that one. Players we don’t keep often go on and have a good career in the game."
Sterling had plenty of suitors
Liverpool were lucky enough to persuade Sterling to swap Queens Park Rangers for Merseyside back in 2010 and had to pay £600,000 compensation to make the deal happen, but at 14 the electric winger was one of the most sought-after talents in English football.
Tottenham Hotspur and their then academy supremo Tim Sherwood in particular were desperate to sign a talent they arranged a trial match purely to watch slower, but in the end Spurs passed and so did Arsenal.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers is now reaping the reward of Liverpool's gamble on Sterling, who now earns £35,000-a-week at the age of 19 and scored nine goals in the Premier League last season.
He could have so easily done the same for Arsenal, with Brady remembering the starlet as a special talent despite spending the best part of two decades scouring the globe for diamonds in the rough.
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