Salomon Rondon has revealed how close he came to completing a move to Manchester United during the January transfer window.
United were left desperately scrambling around the market for an extra centre-forward on deadline day, after seeing Marcus Rashford sidelined for four months with a serious back injury.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer attempted to lure Josh King back to the club from Bournemouth, but the Red Devils saw a £20 million ($26m) bid for the Norwegian rejected, which forced them to look further afield for affordable targets.
United made a late approach for former Newcastle frontman Rondon, who currently plays in the Chinese Super League with Dalian Professional, but a deal never materialised.
Rondon claims he waited by the phone for a call from his agent for an update on negotiations, before finding out that United had decided to bring in Odion Ighalo on loan from Shanghai Shenhua instead.
"It was all out of my hands," the 30-year-old told The Athletic.
“It means a lot to be linked with Manchester United because they have a great history and it must mean they think I did well in the Premier League.
“They started to talk to my agent and I was just waiting by my phone for a decision, maybe for the lawyers, but then I saw Ighalo had signed.
"It didn’t get to the stage where an offer was made or anything like that, but I think it was really close.”
Rondon has plenty of previous experience in England, having enjoyed a three-year spell at West Brom and a season-long loan stint at Newcastle.
The Venezuelan scored 11 goals in 32 Premier League appearances for the Magpies in 2018-19, before completing a permanent move to China last summer.
When asked if he was left angry or frustrated over the failed transfer to United, Rondon responded: "No, no — it’s just football.
"It’s decisions again and they obviously decided Ighalo was the best decision for them. I’ve played against him and I’m pleased for him.
"All I can do is keep working. I’m concentrating on Dalian, on working and learning and listening to the manager. After that, we will have to wait and see. You just never know in this game."
Ighalo made his debut for United on Monday night, coming on as a late substitute in a 2-0 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
He could be in line for his first start for the club on Thursday, with a Europa League round of 32 first-leg tie against Club Brugge on the cards.