Manchester United were reportedly turned down by a Barcelona midfielder earlier in the summer before they eventually settled on a deal for Sofyan Amrabat instead.
The Red Devils snapped up the Morocco international in a loan deal from Fiorentina on transfer deadline day after beating out several rivals to land the highly-rated Amrabat.
Indeed, United have paid the Serie A club a loan fee of £8.5 million, with the deal containing an option to buy for £21.4million next summer.
However, things could have worked out very differently for Erik ten Hag had he got the club’s initial midfield target on board weeks ago.
Ivory Coast international Franck Kessie is the player in question after he was put up for sale by Barca at the start of the summer.
The 26-year-old was deemed surplus to requirements by Xavi after just one season in Catalonia, with United among a host of clubs showing interest in his services.
However, according to Relevo, Kessie ‘did not want to go’ to Old Trafford and, after also snubbing Inter Milan, he opted for Al Ahli in the Saudi Pro League instead.
The frustrating thing for United is that he ended up only costing £11m as well in what appears a real steal for Al-Ahli, who also have former Premier League stars Riyad Mahrez and Roberto Firmino on their books.
Kessie already proving a hit in Saudi Arabia
Kessie has also made a fast start to his career in the Middle East, scoring twice in just five outings.
The big surprise, however, is that the midfielder previously admitted it was his dream to play at Old Trafford.
Speaking back in 2018 to Tuttomercatoweb about what the future held for him, Kessie said: “I like the Premier League and in particular Manchester United – a team I dream of playing in. Chelsea is also a great club, no one would refuse it, but I dream of United.”
It appears, however, that in the years gone by since that statement, Kessie had a change of heart over heading to England and is now enjoying the riches on offer in Saudi Arabia instead.
As for United, they are not back in action now until September 16 when they host Brighton at Old Trafford after the international break.