Former Barcelona vice-president Jordi Mestre has revealed that the club has attempted to sign both Thibaut Courtois and Alvaro Morata in recent years.
Belgium international goalkeeper Courtois was a target in 2013 while the Belgian goalkeeper was still at Atletico Madrid before he left for Chelsea and, eventually, Real Madrid
Morata, meanwhile, was eyed during the January transfer window of 2019 before agreeing a move from Chelsea to Atleti.
And Mestre has opened up on the pursuits of both players by the Blaugrana, with former director of football, Andoni Zubizarreta, having lead the club in the direction of Courtois seven years ago.
“There was insistent talk of signing Courtois, but they finally brought in [Marc-Andre] ter Stegen at the discretion of Zubizarreta,” Mestre told Mundo Deportivo .
On Morata he added: “Following the opinion of the players, bringing Morata would have created a possible conflict in the locker room. He would have liked to play and not be a substitute.
“There were two issues with Morata – one concerned controlling the club’s budget which Pep Segura was in charge of and he was always extremely careful about not going over budget.
“Then there was the sporting side – Morata was an international and, therefore, not the kind of player who should be sat on the bench in every game.
“He didn’t want to be a substitute and the atmosphere within the squad was very good – if he had joined, it would have unsettled that but, as I say, it’s not the players who make those decisions.”
Mestre was vice president at the club from 2014 until the summer of 2019 when he left his post for ‘professional reasons’.
He recently stated that he felt isolated and “thought the opposite to everyone else.”
“I felt I’d been fighting an uphill battle for some time,” he added.
“I had different ideas about things to other board members but it wasn’t important. I realised that I was the only one who thought in a certain way.
“The football committee which comprised Josep Maria Bartomeu, Javier Bordas, Silvio Elias, and Xavier Vilajoana were not in agreement with me or with Pep Segura in his role as general manager. I was the only one who defended him and I felt alone.”