Shola Shoretire was released by Man City for training with Barcelona...when he was 10
Had things worked out differently, Shoretire could have been making his senior debut in the blue of City, not the red of United.
Shola Shoretire became the latest product of Manchester United's storied academy system to make a first team appearance at the weekend, coming on as a late substitute in the Premier league game against Newcastle.
Few of those watching the 17-year-old take to the field, however, would have been aware of the youngster's associations with Manchester's other club.
Born in Newcastle, Shoretire had been on his home town club's radar from a very early age. After playing with Wallsend Boys' Club, he was soon invited to train with Newcastle's academy.
But before he could sign terms, word of his talent had reached Manchester. City made an approach and Shoretire soon left Tyneside to join their academy.
According to Sportsmail, he was only released by City when it was discovered he had undergone a trial with Barcelona while on a family holiday. Despite rating him highly, City reluctantly decided to let him go, with United quickly pouncing to sign the then-10-year-old soon afterwards.
The teenager signed his first professional contract at Old Trafford shortly after his 17th birthday earlier this month. He had only recently been invited to train with United's first team squad.
As well as being monitored by Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona are also said to have made their interest known in him for a second time prior to him inking the deal with United.