Saul Niguez has aired his relief at having missed out on a Premier League opportunity to become a key figure at Atletico Madrid.
The 22-year-old Spain international has been heavily linked with moves to England in the past, with Manchester United among his many suitors.
The Red Devils were reported to be keen on acquiring his services once again over the summer, only to see Saul commit to a nine-year contract with Atletico.
Those terms were just reward for a home-grown talent who has emerged as a leading midfield option for club and country.
Saul has, however, revealed that things could have turned out very differently had he accepted a call from the Premier League while still in his teens – and not one from Old Trafford.
He told the Daily Mail: “Fulham wanted me when I was 16.
“They were in the Premier League at the time with Mark Hughes and I was close to going.
“They had a plan for me to train with them for three months and then to start playing directly. I could go from the Atletico B team to the Premier League. I felt ready to make that jump. Thank God I never went.”
Since breaking into the Atletico first team, Saul has gone on to make 155 senior appearances and net 22 goals.
He has also earned four caps for Spain, having previously helped his country to glory at the European U19 Championship and a runner-up finish at the U21 equivalent.