Arsene Wenger has admitted to making an error of judgment by not signing Gareth Bale.
The Arsenal boss had tracked both Theo Walcott and Bale when they were youngsters at Southampton, but only signed the winger.
At the time, the Gunners boasted both Ashley Cole and Gael Clichy as left-backs, and Wenger did not think another player in the position was necessary.
Neither Cole nor Clichy are at the Emirates anymore, and while he is no longer strictly speaking a left-back, Bale is one of the most coveted players on the planet.
And so Wenger admits that he was foolhardy not to sign Bale when he had the chance.
Instead, Tottenham Hotspur managed to lure the Welshman to their corner of North London instead, and could bank a small fortune for him if they sell him to Real Madrid.
"We didn't take him as we had Ashley Cole and Gael Clichy and didn't want another left-back," Wenger told Al Jazeera Sport regarding Bale.
"I must confess it was a huge mistake as he can play in midfield. He struggled at the start at Tottenham, then they moved him to midfield and he has done exceptionally well.
"The career of a player sometimes depends on playing in the right position."
Wenger’s inability to see Bale in his line-up must rankle with the Frenchman, as he accepts that the Spurs man now deserves to be mentioned in the same illustrious company as superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
"He has the potential. Now it depends on his consistency at the top level and injuries,” Wenger said.
"If you look at Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi - the two head figures of world football - they have fantastic health and don't miss a game. Bale has power, pace and direct play in his game.
"I still think he is a typical flank player and they are so difficult to find. I think he is too young to move to the middle."