Joao Moutinho has revealed he was minutes away from joining Tottenham Hotspur, but will now hope to get the better of the club when he steps out at Wembley with Monaco for Wednesday's Champions League tie.
Moutinho, 30, was a transfer target of former Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas when he was in charge at White Hart Lane in August 2012.
The Portugal international was in North London on deadline day and papers to complete what would have been a then-club record £24 million move were submitted to the Premier League -- but not in time for the transfer to go through.
"It's true I was a few minutes from signing for Spurs," Moutinho, who should start for Ligue 1 leaders Monaco in the Group E opener, told reporters. "Here I am at Monaco and the focus is on putting in a performance to help us through to the next stage of the Champions League."
Monaco arrive in London in great form, having picked up 10 of a possible 12 points in Ligue 1 this season to sit top of the table on goal difference.
The Principality club will feel they have a point to prove after seeing their Europa League hopes ended last term with a 4-1 loss at White Hart Lane.
"It'll be a completely different game to last year," Moutinho said. "We'll have to give our all to get the result we want. Every player loves this kind of atmosphere.
"This year, the team is stronger. It'll be a more evenly contested game, tighter. Tottenham start as slight favourites, but we'll do all we can to put our game in place."
One Monaco player in particular will be keen to impress, with Radamel Falcao having disappointed in the Premier League in successive loan spells with Manchester United and Chelsea over the past two seasons.
The Colombia international was one of the game's most dangerous strikers after his prolific form at Porto and Atletico Madrid before he joined Monaco in the summer of 2013.
But a serious knee injury in January 2014 stunted his progress with the Ligue 1 outfit, and he is unlikely to start against Spurs as he works his way back to full fitness after a thigh problem sustained in the Champions League playoff against Fenerbahce.
Moutinho believes, however, that Falcao can rediscover his old form.
"He's working hard, he's determined to do great things with us," Moutinho said. "I'm convinced he'll get back to his best -- the form he showed at Porto, Atletico or even Monaco before he got injured."