ARSENAL missed out on signing Juan Mata from Valencia in 2011, according to the club’s former transfer negotiator Dick Law.
The Spanish playmaker had agreed personal terms with the Gunners about making the switch to North London, but the club dithered over the price tag set by the LaLiga outfit.
This led rivals Chelsea to swoop in and secure the services of Mata, who had chipped in with nine goals and 18 assists in 43 games during the 2010-11 season.
Arsenal were crying out for a creative midfielder as they looked to replace Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, who were seeking an exit from the club.
But Arsene Wenger and the club were put off by the combined value of the transfer fee for Mata as well as his contract, which would have totalled £37million.
Law had travelled to Spain to meet with Mata’s father, and he has stated that the player was keen to make the move to the Emirates.
Speaking to The Athletic, he said: “Then we waited. Juan definitely wanted to come to Arsenal, there was no question about that.”
When asked if Arsenal ever considered paying above their valuation of a player, Law declared that it was never spoken about.
He added: “I don’t think that calculation ever entered our equation.
“We didn’t have the money to say, ‘We’ll spend a bit more’.”
Arsenal eventually managed to lure the now Gunners manager Mikel Arteta to the club on deadline day, while Mata enjoyed a stunning season at Stamford Bridge.
Mata recorded 12 goals and 20 assists in 54 games in all competitions, helping the club to Champions League and FA Cup glory.
His performances led him to winning Chelsea’s Player of the Year in his first two seasons, before he was sold to Manchester United in January 2014 after falling out of favour under Jose Mourinho.
Mata is part of a long list of stars who came close to joining Arsenal, with Lionel Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba all linked with moves.