Julio Arca is an extremely popular former Sunderland player and a cult favourite at the club but, during a podcast with the Golazo Podcast, the Argentine player explained how he could have turned out for local rivals Newcastle United.
The 39-year-old explained that he was at the Marriott hotel in Seaburn with his agent before he had signed a deal with Sunderland, when his agent revealed that Newcastle would like to sign him once Bobby Robson had returned from a trip to the United States.
For Arca though, he did not want to take a chance on the Magpies changing their mind and was swayed by how keen Sunderland were to sign the then Argentina under-21 international:
Obviously you have to believe your agent and what your agent’s saying.
My agent told me that when we went to sign for Sunderland, we were in a hotel and we didn’t sign the contract yet, they say that Newcastle is interested.
I remember being on a hotel just on the seafront, Marriott, my agent says ‘Newcastle are interested in signing you, just need to wait for Bobby Robson to come back from America and they want to sign you’.
Sunderland, they had the contract on the table, you know they say Newcastle are interested but they could have changed their mind and Sunderland was really interested.
They really went for me, you know?
I don’t know how much they knew about me because I don’t think any Sunderland fans knew me when I got there, they must have paid £3.5m for a young player, coming from Argentina.
Argentinos Juniors is a good club, building players, but it’s not one of the bigger ones.
I’m sure a lot of fans probably 100% had a question mark thinking ‘who the hell have we signed?’.
Luckily it paid off for me and them but Sunderland was the one that really put the effort in to sign me and that’s the reason why we decided to sign the contract with them.
You can listen to the interview with Julio Arca, where he discusses his initial move to Sunderland, life in the North East and his entire career on the Golazo podcast by clicking HERE or by pressing play on the player below.