Ex-Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli has revealed Luis Suarez asked if he could leave Anfield for Barcelona on the day he signed the Reds.
The Uruguayan joined Kenny Dalglish's men from Dutch club Ajax in a five-and-a-half year deal worth about £22.7m in January 2011.
Suarez went on to prove himself to be one of the world's best strikers during his three-and-a-half years at Anfield, with an impressive 82 goals in 133 appearances, and secured a dream £65million move to Barcelona in 2014.
And speaking exclusively to Football Whispers TV on Thursday, Comolli said: “Interestingly, the day we signed Luis he told me one thing that I’ll always remember – and I told everybody at the club at the time – he said ‘please, if Barcelona come in for me will you let me go?'
“That was his dream as a kid. His dream was to play for Barcelona. It was not about the money, it was about him wanting to play for that football club.
“Obviously, I said no because I will say no in those circumstances but I knew if one of the two big clubs in Spain came in it would be difficult to stop him.”
In the latest episode of Football Whispers TV, which you can watch above, presenter Matt Lorenzo hosted Comolli and former Liverpool striker Paul Walsh.
The Frenchman worked as European scout at Arsenal during their heyday following Arsene Wenger's arrival before holding director of football roles at Spurs and Liverpool.
He can lay claim to having quite an impressive C.V when it comes to player recruitment. He played an influential role in signing Dimitar Berbatov, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale while at Spurs and then was part of the negotiation team who brought Luis Suarez to Anfield.
When Fenway Sports Group bought Liverpool FC in 2010 they wanted to implement a recruitment strategy more often used in baseball, Moneyball.
The stats-driven approach sees clubs use various stats and systems to identify undervalued players who have the potential to improve. As director of football, Comolli was tasked with doing just that at Liverpool.
However, In April 2012, Comolli left Liverpool by mutual consent as an unimpressive league showing combined with failings in the market, with the club spending £35million on Andy Carroll and £20million on Stewart Downing, are said to have played a role in the parting of the ways.
Comolli has subsequently claimed one of the main reasons he was replaced was because Fenway thought he had made a “big mistake” with the signing of Jordan Henderson for £16million from Sunderland, who after a slow start to life at Anfield has captained his club and country.
The 44-year-old is now a consultant working for several clubs across Europe but Comolli still travels over to England on a regular basis from his home in France.
His former club Liverpool are currently second in the Premier League but if results go against them this weekend and they fall to a defeat at Old Trafford, they could finish the weekend as low as fifth.
The Reds are one of six teams looking to secure a much-sought-after top four place and one of the men at the forefront of that challenge is Philippe Coutinho.
With the Brazilian in the form of his life, it’s going to be difficult convincing him to stick around if they once again fail to qualify for the Champions League because – as Comolli pointed out on Football Whispers TV – top players want to play in Europe’s elite competition.
He explained: “It's very difficult to keep players, players at the top, if you're not regularly in the position to compete in the Champions League,
“The other downside of not being in the Champions League is the difference in revenue. The likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United and the other clubs who are in the Champions League every year, grow revenue and have got revenue that allows them to possibly increase the player’s wages.
“Liverpool are not in that position so at some point you are limited with that you can do financially and you are limited with that you can offer the player in terms of playing in the best competition in the world and that's why it's difficult to keep them.”