Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was reportedly interested in bringing Diogo Jota to the Emirates Stadium when he was still a teenager, according to The Athletic.
Jota joined Liverpool in mid-September, BBC Sport reporting the 23-year-old had penned a five-year deal at Anfield following his £41million switch from Wolves.
It’s not taken Jota long to make an impact on Merseyside, with 11 appearances yielding an impressive seven goals including a Champions League hat-trick, against Atalanta.
More impressively, just six of those appearances have been starts, testament to a player who can make an impact even with limited game time and off the bench.
In the first half of 2016, Jota was 19 years old and plying his trade for modest Portuguese outfit Pacos de Ferreira, before joining Atletico Madrid that summer.
According to the outlet, the Gunners – on Wenger’s watch – sent scouts to watch Jota in action, as did West Ham, but in the end, the Spanish side triumphed as they signed him on a five-year contract.
Football has so many what ifs – what if Gareth Bale had been offloaded to Birmingham when he initially struggled at Spurs? And what if the Eyjafjallajokull eruption in 2011 didn’t happen and Robert Lewandowski had joined Blackburn?
This is another of those examples, though it’s not like Arsenal didn’t try – it’s just how things pan out, with the player opting for one of Spain’s top sides, though it has to be said, he wasn’t a regular starter, with 15 of his 30 league appearances off the bench.
Jota has gone to the next level while at Wolves and now he’s at the Premier League champions, even though he always had the makings of a superstar – Jorge Simao, who brought him to Porto, told Marca earlier this month: “It doesn’t surprise me that he’s doing so well.
“He’s doing the same as he’s always done, but at Liverpool he’s just more in the spotlight. I remember when he signed for Porto I said that he’d be the replacement for Cristiano (Ronaldo) in the national team. There were raised eyebrows, but now a lot of people are saying the same.”