Hearts captain Marius Zaliukas could have been snapped up by English giants Manchester United before he signed on at Tynecastle.
Steven Pressley, Zaliukas’ skipper when he arrived in Edinburgh in 2006, revealed that the Old Trafford side were keeping close tabs on the Lithuanian and were close to bringing him to play under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Pressley, who like Zaliukas lifted the Scottish Cup as a Hearts player, said the interest from one of the world’s biggest clubs, shows the calibre of the defender.
Zaliukas recently broke the Hearts record for appearances made by a foreign player, but is out of contract in the summer.
Pressley said: “Prior to him going to Hearts, Manchester United watched him on seven or eight occasions and they were very close to signing him.
“I think that shows the level of player he can be.
“On his day I think there’s no better centre back in Scotland than Marius. When he’s fully focused and determined he is a terrific player.
“He’s proved over the course of his time at Hearts that he’s been an excellent player and a very good captain.”