Salomon Rondon has revealed his club Dalian Professional blocked a move to Manchester United in January.
The 30-year-old former Newcastle striker was rumoured to be one of a number of targets in January, but now the Venezuelan has revealed how close he came to joining Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Old Trafford.
The Norwegian boss was desperately hunting for a forward in January with Marcus Rashford injured.
Bournemouth frontman Josh King was an option for United, while Rondon says his club and boss Rafa Benitez were also contacted about a move for the forward.
However, Dalian Professional blocked the move, as they did not want to lose Rondon after paying £16.5million for him last summer on a £8million-a-year contract.
Instead, United looked elsewhere in the Chinese Super League and ended up signing Odion Ighalo from Shanghai Greenland Shenhua on loan, with Rondon suggesting he was ahead of Igalo on Solskjaer’s list.
Rondon, who has scored five goals in 11 games in the Chinese Super League, said via the Mirror: “The chance was very close to come back to England.
“The owner of my club said that they paid a lot for me, he wanted me to stay and didn’t want to let me go. He said: ‘It’s not in our minds to let you go.’
“I talked to Rafa and then they chose another player, it finished and I didn’t have any chance to go.
“I stayed and I take that experience with me in my life, in my career and I have to wait because I’ve signed for two years and if I stay for two years it doesn’t matter for me.
“My agents didn’t say too much. They said they’d call me if they had some news but the opportunity to go was really, really close and the decisions are with the owners.
“It was a good opportunity for me to come back to Europe but I stayed in China and then we will see what happens in the future.
“I enjoyed England a lot, I followed the Premier League a lot, my children now speak better English than me!
“It’s a very good thing for me and it was a big opportunity for me and my family.”