Arsenal made Gonzalo Higuain their top transfer target during the summer and appeared to do all that they could to clinch the services of the then Real Madrid player.
But now Napoli, who would eventually sign the striker, have revealed that securing a deal for the Argentina international was "easy".
At one stage during the summer transfer window, a deal that would take Higuain to Arsenal looked certain, with the player's agent - his father, going as far as to claim his son would move to the Emirates.
But the deal dragged on, and eventually failed, leading to Arsenal's transfer policy to come in for much criticism.
The arrival on Mesut Ozil for £42.5m on deadline day went some way to muffling those critics, however, the revelations from Napoli could open up old wounds. Ahead of tonight's Champions League meeting with the Gunners, Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has revealed the apparent ease with which his club stole in to secure Higuain's services.
“It was very fast because we were negotiating with a Brazilian guy [involved with Higuain’s image rights],” said De Laurentiis. “Now, all the soccer players have to have their image rights belong to me — whoever doesn’t give that to me, doesn’t work with our club.
“So this Brazilian guy had a lot of trouble. So, in one second, we were in the mountains with the team and I said to my people, ‘Why don’t we call Real?’ We called, we wanted, and in 10 minutes it was done for €38m plus, plus. And they said, ‘now call Higuain’. We called the father and brother — they are his agents.
“So the day after, in Venice, we went in the airport for eight hours closed in a room and we did the deal. It was very easy. I didn’t know about the Gunners, Arsenal — nobody told me. I am sorry Arsenal!”
Napoli take on the Gunners in their Group F match later tonight in what appears an intriguing fixture between two of Europe's in-form teams.
De Laurentiis insists his team are not daunted by the game at the Emirates, a repeat of the pre-season friendly that ended 2-2.
“It is very tough because the Gunners are very strong,” he said. “But we don’t play with fear, we play. Just to enjoy. And I hope it will be a very good match for the supporters.”Reuse content