Manchester City chief executive Gary Cook has revealed that the club attempted an astonishing swoop in 2009 for then Chelsea captain John Terry.
After graduating from the youth academy in 1998, Terry spent 19 glory laden years at Stamford Bridge, winning 17 trophies with the Blues before joining Aston Villa for a career swansong in 2017.
However, according to Cook, who was speaking to Sky Sports' Transfer Talk podcast, things could've been so different had the Citizens been successful in their attempts to bring the defender to Manchester in 2009.
The 61-year-old revealed: "We went through the process [of signing Terry].
"[Chelsea chief executive] Peter Kenyon was there at the time and we had conversations with him, saying we'd like to do it and we'd like to have a conversation.
"I think he was probably more confident that he [Terry] wasn't going anywhere. We had conversations with John and he decided to stay where he was, and quite rightly so. But there was never a document ready to sign.
"There were players out there who were using us as a stalking horse and that's the game. f you want to get a better contract in your renewal with the club you're with, then you've got to try and raise a market, and that's what agents would do.
"The reality is, would we have liked a lot of them to come? Yes. But the truth is, some of them were a little bit smoke and mirrors."
Indeed, the player himself has since admitted City's courtship lent him "bargaining power" in his contract extension talks with the Pensioners, as he ultimately signed the £150,000-a-week deal that made him the highest paid player at the club at the time.
🗣 "People try to identify me as the coach that sold Salah. I am the coach that bought Salah. It’s completely the wrong idea." https://t.co/kRmItl0SPj— 90min (@90min_Football) January 18, 2019
When probed on the reasons behind the interest, Cook admitted: "He's a true leader and the dressing room needed leadership.
"He had Premier League and Champions League experience, he was an England player and that was admittedly as good as all of the other names we were chasing.
"Somebody like Terry would have added a whole different dimension to the growth of Man City, but unfortunately it wasn't to be."