The year was 1999.
The date was July 28.
Vengaboys were number one in the UK with their club anthem ‘BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM‘, which was fitting given Arsene Wenger was in a fight to keep his star player.
Nicolas Anelka, fresh off the back of scoring 17 goals in 35 Premier League games, wanted out.
The 20-year-old had played in all but three of Arsenal’s league games and effectively called time on Ian Wright’s spell at the club.
But with rumours of a Real Madrid move in the wings, Anelka wasn’t happy in north London.
There was just one problem. Madrid weren’t playing ball.
Having been warned off with the threat of a FIFA sanction if they continued ‘illegal’ approaches for the Frenchman, Madrid were no longer interested in Anelka.
At least not officially.
Lazio were though. Sven-Goran Eriksson was spoiled for choice up front thanks to Marcelo Salas and Christian Vieri, but he wanted more.
The Serie A giants opened official negotiations with Arsenal. This is where we get a bit misty eyed.
Lazio walked away from talks after finding the idea of paying £23million for a 20-year-old ‘madness’.
Yep, £23mil for a full international scoring double figures in one of Europe’s toughest league was considered bonkers.
We’re just going to slip on our rose-tinted glasses and remind everyone that Swansea turned down a bid of nearly double that for Gylfi Sigudsson.
That’s not to take away from the Icelandic midfielder- a very fine player in his own right.
It’s equally as mental that Alvaro Morata costs £60m, Benjamin Mendy costs £52m and Kylian Mbappe might well cost more than £160m.
In the end it didn’t matter because Madrid stuck the money on the table, as they tend to do.
May as well order the ‘Mbappe’ Madrid shirt now.