It was a deal that would have made sense to everyone, except the one man who could make it happen.
Cesc Fabregas moving back to Arsenal seemed to be that elusive transfer that satisfied both the head and the heart; the former captain returning to lead the club to a new era of glory.
We now know that is not quite how it turned out. Fabregas, who began his eight-year association with Arsenal at the age of 16, is now a Chelsea player.
The 27-year-old will play under Jose Mourinho, a man he told to "shut up" just four months ago, instead of Arsene Wenger, who has apparently turned down the chance to bring Fabregas back to the Emirates.
It is hard to think that Wenger made the right choice. Desperate for midfield cover, he signed a player with a broken back on loan in January. And when midfield mainstays Mesut Oezil and Aaron Ramsey were struck by injury, Arsenal plummeted from the summit of the English Premier League table, back into the familiar surroundings of fourth place.
Even more off-putting is the sense that a major rival has been strengthened immeasurably. Mourinho knows the worth of buying a player to keep him out of the clutches of the other big clubs, like a spoilt child keeping all the toys for himself, and for once, maybe the pragmatist in Wenger should have stepped in.
Despite failing to hold down a place in the Barcelona first team, Fabregas remains a top player. He still has more Premier League assists since August 2006 than anyone except Wayne Rooney, despite having left England three years ago.
But as the famous banner says, Arsene Knows. Most of all, he will know that turning down the chance to re-sign Fabregas puts the pressure squarely on him to deliver. Arsenal fans demand big-name signings - after a 'no' to one of the world's best players, a 'yes' to a Loic Remy, a Serge Aurier or another unheralded player will mean little, even if they are what the squad really needs.
With the shock still fresh in the system though, I can't help but foresee Fabregas lifting the Premier League trophy at the end of next season. The shame of it all is that he will be in a blue jersey, not a red one.