Barcelona president Joan Laporta has confirmed his club held transfer talks with a much-heralded Liverpool star, but accepts a deal is unlikely to happen.
The LaLiga giants are back on top of LaLiga, holding a two-point advantage over reigning champions Real Madrid. As such, hopes are high that the Blaugrana can wrestle the title away from Los Blancos. Indeed, after crashing out of the Champions League in disappointing fashion, their trophy hopes are also alive in the Europa League.
Next up in that competition, though, is an eagerly-awaited clash against Manchester United. It’s a game that Xavi is certainly looking forward to, though one he accepts will be tough.
Their position at the LaLiga summit though is certainly one that will please the club and its supporters. The LaLiga giants have undergone some tough times of late with financial issues dominating the news.
That said, the sale of a portion of their TV rights, together with the naming rights of the Nou Camp stadium have freed up some much-needed income.
As a result, Barca were still able to sign the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha in costly summer deals.
The transfer saga that brought Raphinha to Catalonia from Leeds United was certainly a long-drawn out affair. After weeks of negotiations, Laporta ultimately got his man, though, with the Premier League side receiving a fee up to £58m.
However, Barcelona may not have been in for Raphinha at all had earlier efforts to prise Luis Diaz come to fruition.
The Colombian star moved to Liverpool in January 2022 and has proved a big hit at Anfield.
Indeed, he has 10 goals in 37 appearances since the initial £37.5m switch as well as six assists to his name.
Barcelona held talks with Luis Diaz
Now Laporta has revealed just how close his side came to beating Liverpool to the signature of Diaz from Porto.
“Liverpool got ahead of us in the signing of Luis Díaz,” Laporta said. “It is true we were very interested in him.
“We even got to talk with his agent, but they [Liverpool] already had advanced. We were also in an economic restructuring.”
“He’s a great player who has a great sense of belonging to Liverpool and I’m not going to talk about him anymore.”
Diaz has, of course, not looked back since his switch to Anfield. He has very quickly endeared himself at Liverpool, playing a leading role in their march to the Champions League final.
And his form has been able to carry on this season too. The Colombia star had four goals and two assists this season before injury struck him down at Arsenal.
Diaz has since been forced to undergo an operation on that knee injury with the initial prognosis set for eight weeks out.
He will reportedly soon step up that return by stepping back out on to the training field. And if all goes to plan, he will be fit in time for the resumption of Liverpool’s season. That is slotted to resume on December 22 against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup.
However, had Laporta had his way, Diaz may well have ended up at Barcelona first.