West Ham United came incredibly close to signing Barcelona’s teenage sensation Ansu Fati last summer.
According to Bleacher Report, West Ham had an agreement in place with the player and his family but missed out because of issues with his Spanish passport.
The 17-year-old Hammers target ended up staying at the Camp Nou and was fast-tracked into the side where he shone early on.
Fati’s meteoric rise brought him to the attention of football fans across Europe.
According to Mundo Deportivo, West Ham made an audacious secret bid to sign the teenager last summer.
West Ham held talks with Fati’s family last summer
The report claimed “West Ham officials held talks with Fati’s family members” which means the club’s then director of football and transfer chief Mario Husillos was actively seeking to bring the star to East London.
Mundo Deportivo claims Barcelona were so concerned about losing him to West Ham, they quickly inserted a huge £88.7million release clause into a hastily arranged three contract which an additional two year option.
Fast forward nearly a year, though, and the door may well be open for West Ham again.
That’s after respected Spanish outlet Marca reported Fati is ‘at a crossroads’ over his Barcelona future.
Now teen sensation is at a ‘crossroads’ with Barcelona
Marca claims Fati could be forced to dip down into Barcelona B team next season having seen his status in the first team drop in recent months.
The forward has played just 103 minutes in Barcelona’s last five games in La Liga.
Marca states: “Over the course of this season, the youngster has scored five goals in 26 games but is likely to see his playing time reduced next season.
“Ansu Fati will have to compete with the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Antoine Griezmann, Martin Braithwaite and Ousmane Dembele for a place in the team next season.
“On top of them, there are also the possible arrivals of Lautaro Martinez and Neymar, who would push Ansu Fati further down the pecking order.”
Marca says Barca will not contemplate selling the teenage sensation.
Could West Ham lure starlet with money-saving lengthy loan?
But given the assurances Fati and his family were given when signing the contract to ward off West Ham’s advances, the player could well look to force through a loan move.
West Ham have let it be known that money will be tight in the next window, even if the Hammers remain in the Premier League.
So loans, free transfers and swap deals will be the order of the day for David Moyes.
The Scot has made it clear he wants to build a new-look West Ham team around young, hungry players (whufc.com).
He wants pace, energy and raw talent to mould into a team Hammers fans can be proud of.
Fati certainly ticks all those boxes.
If West Ham can snare him on loan for a season or two, it would be the same as having an outstanding talent who inevitably gets picked up by an elite club anyway, only there is no big transfer outlay.