Harry Redknapp has revealed that he came close to signing Santi Cazorla while he was in charge of Arsenal's north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
The diminutive Spaniard had little or no reputation in England when Arsene Wenger forked out a club record £16million to sign him from Malaga in 2012.
He has since gone on to be voted Arsenal's player of the season once and their player of the month on seven occasions.
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But Redknapp was well aware of Cazorla's talents long before he pulled on the famous red and white shirt. In fact, the 68-year-old worked hard to bring him to White Hart Lane while he was still playing for Villarreal in 2010.
"Santi Cazorla was very nearly a Tottenham player well before he joined Arsenal in 2012," Redknapp wrote in the Evening Standard.
Happy to join Spurs
"He was fantastic against us for Villarreal in a pre-season friendly in July 2010. I went up to Everton to watch him play again a week later and then we spoke to Villarreal.
"Santi wanted to come. He was happy to join Spurs, but there was a breakdown in talks over the fee.
"The deal was almost done, but it got lost somewhere in the negotiations between Tottenham and Villarreal. It was a transfer that could and should have been done. He ended up being another one who got away."
Cazorla is now an established member of Wenger's squad and is the first choice centre-midfielder alongside Francis Coquelin. His transformation to a deeper-lying playmaker has seen Aaron Ramsey shifted out to the right-wing in recent games.
Since his arrival at the Emirates, Cazorla has accumulated more assists (32) than any other player in the Premier League. The 30-year-old recently extended his £80,000-a-week deal to 2017 and looks set to play a key role as Arsenal go searching for their third major trophy in as many years.