Both Liverpool and Manchester City failed in late bids to sign Andrey Arshavin, according to a report in the News of the World.
The Russian joined Arsenal from Zenit St Petersburg in January, yet according to the British tabloid, both Rafael Benitez and Mark Hughes attempted to sign the playmaker.
The paper claims that Arshavin turned down a move to Eastlands, a week before signing for Arsenal.
However, they also reveal that Liverpool wanted to move for the 27-year-old but were delayed by having to deal with Robbie Keane’s transfer back to Tottenham Hotspur.
The tabloid quotes a ‘source close to the deal’ as stating that the Reds may have been able to snare Arshavin, if only they had not delayed talks because of the Keane affair.
“It could have been a different story if Liverpool hadn't waited so long,” says the paper’s source.
“As it was, he had already virtually signed for Arsenal when they made their interest known.”
Keane then returned to Spurs, less than six months after arriving at Anfield in January, whilst Arshavin signed for the Gunners.
The Russian has sparkled in recent weeks and has been instrumental in helping Arsene Wenger’s men to return to their best form.
Arshavin played a full part in yesterday’s 3-1 win over Newcastle United, and picked up his first Gunners goal earlier this month in the 4-0 demolition of Blackburn Rovers.
Gill Clark, Goal.com