Manchester United were "very close" to signing Aaron Ramsey when the midfielder joined Arsenal from Cardiff City in 2008, according to Wales assistant manager Osian Roberts.
The Sunday Mirror carries quotes from Chris Coleman's technical director who revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson enquired about the player's development as recently as last week after narrowly missing out on the 23-year-old's signature.
Speaking at the FIFA World Cup 2014 debrief with some of the best coaches in world football, the former Red Devils boss asked about Ramsey after his rise to prominence at the Emirates over the past 12-18 months.
The Manchester United legend's questioning and high praise for the £90,000-a-week Gunners star also carried an element of frustration, according to Roberts, who intimated that the retired coach must regret his failure to lure the player to Old Trafford.
Osian Roberts quote:
"He had a strong interest in how Aaron is doing because he was very close to signing him," he explained. "He probably looks at it now as one that he lost out on and got away from him.
"[But] it was really nice that he spoke about Aaron."
Arsene Wenger paid just £5 million to bring Ramsey to north London six years ago, which has proved to be a bargain when you consider how instrumental he has been to Arsenal over the past couple of seasons.
The career threatening injury that temporarily halted his development in 2010 is now long forgotten as the Wales international now begins to fulfil his potential on the domestic and European stage.