A report from Spain has revealed how European giants Barcelona thwarted West Ham United in their attempts to sign teenage sensation Ansu Fati.
Sixteen-year-old Fati has burst on the scene at the Camp Nou this season.
He already has two goals and two assists in four games after scoring on his debut for Barca.
Fati’s meteoric rise has brought him to the attention of football fans across Europe.
Hammers chief Husillos ahead of the game
But it seems West Ham were ahead of the game when it came to Fati.
According to Mundo Deportivo, the Hammers made an audacious secret bid to sign the teenager over the summer.
The report claims “West Ham officials held talks with Fati’s family members” which means the club’s director of football and transfer chief Mario Husillos was actively seeking to bring the star to East London.
Fati is seen as the heir apparent to Lionel Messi’s throne at Barca.
West Ham forced bumper Barca deal and huge clause
And his astounding emergence this season almost make the West Ham links laughable.
But 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.
That put paid to any hopes the Husillos and Manuel Pellegrini had of landing one of the world’s brightest prospects.
West Ham supporters can take great heart from the revelation, though, as it proves the club is going after the right kind of young, talent.
Fans can take heart in failed Fati pursuit
It may not have paid off this time.
But no doubt with Husillos and Pellegrini’s knowledge base of players it won’t be long until one such move comes off.
How good it is to see some thought and structure behind West Ham’s transfer policy.
It is certainly exciting times for the Hammers faithful.