There were few players in the world better than Cesc Fabregas in the summer 2009.
The Arsenal playmaker was the complete midfielder and was all set to embark on one of the Premier League's greatest ever individual seasons in 2009/10.
Fabregas would go on to score 15 goals and notch 15 assists in just 27 league games, but Arsenal as a team simply couldn't match the brilliance of their supreme playmaking genius.
The Gunners finished 11 points behind table-topping Chelsea and the consensus was that the lack of a world-class defensive midfielder was the key to their failings.
Well guess what? Arsenal could have had one of the best of all-time backing up Fabregas in the middle of the park in 2009/10 had they had their heads screwed on.
Fabregas has revealed that ex-Liverpool hero Xabi Alonso was 'begging' to join the Gunners in 2009 and Rafa Benitez - who wanted to replace him with Gareth Barry - had told the Spaniard he could leave.
What did Arsenal do? They dilly-dallied and watched one of the world's finest join Real Madrid, an outcome synonymous with the final years of Arsene Wenger's reign.
Speaking on Arseblog's podcast, the Spaniard said: "He’s one. I was with Xabi on the phone the whole summer.
"He was dying to come. He was literally begging everyone to go to Arsenal, he really wanted to come. ‘And to be honest, I did my best. I spoke to who I had to speak to. I gave my opinion, I thought that he was a fantastic addition for us at that time.
"And yeah I have to say that a couple of times like that I was frustrated by the lack of push, the final push, you know what I mean? That it’s so close, the player is dying to come, it’s so easy to make this deal.
"I'm not a director, I see it from a player’s point of view. If it was me, if I wanted to go somewhere like I went to Arsenal, I do my everything to go to Arsenal.
"And I see that when a player wants to go somewhere, it’s easy. Forget contracts. Okay, sometimes it’s more difficult, if you have a long contract or something, but normally it should happen.
"And yeah, Xabi Alonso was one of them. I mean I was living it day-to-day because he was texting me all the time.
"I remember the whole holiday I was talking to him, he was texting me: “What’s happening?” And it was a shame, because I think he would have been a great, great, great addition to that team. He was made for Arsenal, I think."
A missed opportunity? Just a bit! Alonso went on to enjoy huge success with Real Madrid and was a key man in Spain's 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 winning teams.
Had Arsenal acted appropriately they likely would have won their first Premier League title since 2004. Hindsight, eh?
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