West Ham defender Pablo Zabaleta has revealed he was on the verge of joining Serie A giants Roma in the summer of 2016, before then newly-appointed Pep Guardiola pulled a plug on the deal.
The right-back has not hidden his desire to play in Italy before the end of his career, with his current contract expiring at the end of the season.
Zabaleta went on to make 32 appearances in his final season at City, scoring twice, before making the move to London.
“I came close to joining Roma in the past,” he told Sky Sports Italy.
“They offered me a three-year contract and I thought that could be a positive experience for me.
“However, Guardiola took over at Manchester City and he told me that he needed me to stay so, in the end, I didn’t join Roma.
“It’s a decision I took with my heart even though I’ve always thought that I’d like to play in Italy one day.”
Despite having one eye on his long-term future, the Argentine is enjoying something of a renaissance under former manager Manuel Pellegrini.
West Ham travel to Brighton this evening, with Zabaleta expected to start after impressing in the wins over Manchester United and Everton, and the draw against Chelsea.