Cesc Fabregas was a man in demand this summer, with the Barcelona midfielder coveted by David Moyes' Manchester United.
The Spaniard rejected the club's advances, deciding against a return to the Premier League to continue his adventure at Barcelona, the club from where he was originally signed by Arsenal in the first place.
When Tito Vilanova was forced to stand down due to health issues, the gamble behind Fabregas' decision became apparent. Would the new boss have fresh ideas? Would he want to move him on?
These are genuine concerns Fabregas admits to having held when Gerard 'Tata' Martino was appointed Barcelona manager this Autumn.
Fortunately as he reveals to Spanish newspaper Sport, Martino is very much a fan, and already knew of Fabregas and had a clear idea exactly how to get the best out of him.
Fabregas said: "Without knowing or anything, was in Sardinia and I read that he had spoken highly of me in the media. They asked about Manchester United and answered clearly. (He) wanted me to stay and it is important. Those words gave me confidence."
When manager and player spoke directly for the first time, the midfielder was left feeling even more positive:
"He said he wanted (me) to be the Arsenal player, who played as I know, he should not hide any quality of which I had and helped me get here. He asked me to get the better of me, that a player like me could not be turned off or keep things in the locker and had to play with mental freedom."
Martino's plea for Cesc to get back more to his Arsenal form is a hint to a lack of inhibition he had as the leader of the Arsenal team, whereas at Barcelona he has even been occasionally whistled by the demanding fans.
So far this season for Barcelona it has been very positive for the midfielder. He leads La Liga in assists, with six to his name, helping the side to a 100 per cent league record and starting six matches along the way.
It looks like the midfielder is happier than ever, and is probably thanking his lucky stars he did not walk out on the side for Manchester United.
Should Arsenal try to get Cesc back next summer? Do they need him?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald