Arsene Wenger has revealed that he tried to take Eden Hazard to Arsenal in 2010, but was ultimately unable to compete with Chelsea's financial muscle.
Belgian starlet Hazard is a player who has figured prominently on Premier League radars for some time, with his potential spotted early.
He was, however, wary of rushing his development and opted to fine tune his game in France with Lille.
Arsenal were among those to attempt to lure him away from Ligue 1, with the 21-year-old's creative talents ideally suited to the Gunners' footballing philosophy.
It was, however, Chelsea who eventually put a suitable transfer package in place, with the reigning European champions completing a £32million deal this summer.
Wenger believes the Blues have acquired a 'special' player and is disappointed to have missed out on a youngster who looks set to go from strength to strength.
He said: "Hazard we would have considered, yes, because we were a long time on the case, but there was such a competition for him - Man City and Chelsea, they fly a bit higher in the sky.
"I tried. Two years ago, we were in touch with Lille, but they never wanted to sell him.
"They had a clause, and they decided only this year (to sell).
"Hazard is still a very young boy, and is a guy who has something special as you have already seen."