Michael Carrick has revealed how he was on the cusp of joining Arsenal in 2004 - only for a sensational performance by a then 17-year-old Cesc Fabregas to scupper his dream move.
Carrick was leaving West Ham following the Irons' relegation to the second tier, and had looked set to join Premier League Portsmouth after meeting with Harry Redknapp.
But a call from Gunners chief David Dein changed things, and Carrick went to visit Arsene Wenger at his house.
Wenger liked what he heard from the midfielder and a deal was all set to be agreed ahead of Arsenal's Community Shield clash against Manchester United in Cardiff .
Fabregas' display scuppered Carrick's proposed move to Arsenal (Image: Getty Images Sport)
Carrick went on to spend two years with Spurs (Image: Daily Mirror)
But Fabregas shone in the middle of the park to such an extent that it convinced Wenger that he did not need to go out and sign a replacement for Patrick Vieira - he had one ready made.
Carrick wrote in his autobiography Between the Lines, serialised in The Times: "I was totally devastated as I had my heart set on Arsenal and playing with all that talent.
Carrick is now on Jose Mourinho's coaching staff at Manchester United (Image: X01988)
"My head was gone. Arsenal had swayed me and I didn't have a clue what I'd do now."
As it turned out, Arsenal's north London Spurs quickly swooped for Carrick, and he went on to make 75 appearances over two years, before joining Manchester United.