Mark Schwarzer has revealed that he was denied a dream move to Arsenal during his career after Fulham slapped a huge price-tag on him at the age of 37.
Arsenal were keen to sign Schwarzer back in 2010 shortly after Mark Hughes had taken charge at Craven Cottage.
However, the Australian goalkeeper says a potential move to the Gunners was blocked by Fulham’s unrealistic transfer demands under former chairman Mohamed Al-Fayed.
Speaking to Ladbrokes at the launch of its 5-a-side bet on Leicester v West Ham, Schwarzer said: “My first conversation with Mark was very much, ‘Hi, nice to meet you, I want to leave.’
“He must have known there was an offer on the table and that I desperately wanted to go. He just told me there was no offer, he knew nothing about it, and that the club wouldn’t be letting anyone leave.
“I ended up meeting with Mohamed Al-Fayed in his office at Craven Cottage, and he told me that if Arsenal met the value the club believed I was worth, that I could go, and if they didn’t pay it, I was stuck.
“So I asked ‘What’s the value?’ and he said ‘£10m’.
“£10m? I was 37-years-old! Nobody in their right mind was ever going to pay that for me.
“I tried for the rest of that summer to come to some sort of agreement with Mr Al-Fayed and Mark Hughes, because I didn’t want to lose such a big opportunity, but things just ended up fizzling out.
“Mark was avoiding me like I had the plague, but I eventually managed to get in contact with him and give it one last go to push the move through.
“With about two weeks to go until deadline day, he told me I could go, but only on the condition he could bring in who he wanted to bring in as my replacement.
“Can you tell me who that is, out of interest? ‘Shay Given.’
“What happens if he doesn’t want to come here?” ‘Well, then you’re not going.’ And that was basically it. I stormed out, apparently Shay turned the move down and I had to stay, they wouldn’t let me go.”
Schwarzer would remain with Fulham until 2013 before joining their neighbours Chelsea on a free transfer.
He would spend 18 months at Stamford Bridge, making just 12 appearances for the club, before moving to Leicester.
The former Bradford City and Middlesbrough goalkeeper would eventually call time on his professional career in 2016, having made 514 Premier League appearances – a record for a non-British player.