Arsene Wenger claims Luis Suarez agreed to join Arsenal from Liverpool in 2013.
The Arsenal manager explained why his side made a bizarre bid of £40,000,001 for the forward, the Gunners having been wrongly advised over a clause in his Anfield contract.
Suarez eventually joined Barcelona one year later for £65million, but Wenger insists a deal was effectively done and challenged any doubters to ask the Uruguay international personally.
"He was very close [to signing]," Wenger said to beIN SPORTS.
"We had an agreement with the player. We had been wrongly advised that he had a clause, with a minimal clause, but we had an agreement with the player. You can ask him.
"I'm convinced he wanted to join us and then they sold him. They kept him one more year, improved his contract and promised to sell him the year later to a club abroad."
Wenger praised Suarez for improving his on-pitch behaviour after biting controversies earlier in his career, the striker having already won eight trophies at Camp Nou.
The Arsenal boss added: "It is not normal. You cannot accept that. He had some behaviours that were shocking but I think as well you don't see them anymore since two, three years.
"He got rid of all the things that were a handicap for him and today you don't see that anymore. He's still on borderline with what the strikers do well, you know, go down in the penalty box but you want that from an intelligent striker.
"Overall I think he got rid of all the rest and rightly so and he deserved to be punished before and now you don't even expect it anymore from him."