Petr Cech has revealed that he almost joined Arsenal in 2002, but the move did not happen because of work permit issues.
The Gunners made the Czech goalkeeper their first summer signing, after they agreed a £10million fee with rivals Chelsea on Monday.
Cech joined the Blues in 2004 from Rennes, but could have been playing in the Premier League before then.
“I didn’t really miss much but all I’ve managed to achieve in the past decade, if I can replicate here will be brilliant,” he said.
Speaking with the club’s official channel, Cech continued: “There was a chance before I went to France that I could sign for Arsenal but I was only 18 or 19 and at that time Czech Republic were not in the European Union.
“You needed a work permit and the conditions were to play 75 per cent of the first-team games for the national team, which at the time was impossible for me to get. In the end I went to France because I couldn’t get a work permit.
“I had a few teams who were interested but Arsenal was one of the main ones. I was so excited because of the Premier League and big clubs but unfortunately it was not the time for me to come.
“It was later with Chelsea, and I’m obviously grateful for that, but you can never prepare the ways in your life and you’ll never know where you’ll end up. So here we are.”
Cech won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three Capital One Cups, the Champions League and the Europa League during his 11 years with Chelsea.