Sacked Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari says he wanted to sign Yuri Zhirkov in January.
Scolari has now confirmed the pursuit and says he held off because Zico, who had then only just been appointed the manager of CSKA Moscow, was desperate not to offload his star player.
"I wanted to buy Zhirkov," admitted Scolari. "It is me who looked at him for Chelsea and the only reason he didn't move to London in the winter is because Zico asked me to very much leave Zhirkov at CSKA till the summer.
"Now that Zhirkov has still come to Chelsea, I have no doubt that he will be one of the team's star players.
"I know the player, because I talked about him a lot with Paulo Paixao (the Brazilian who was then fitness coach of CSKA).
"I always liked that Zhirkov can play equally well in the centre and on the flank. It is also important that he will still progress."