This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
West Ham United came close to signing Barcelona wonderkid Ansu Fati during the summer, as reported by Bleacher Report.
The 17-year-old has made 4 starts and 6 substitute appearances for Barcelona across La Liga and the Champions League this season, scoring 2 goals and getting 1 assist.
He has been a revelation despite this short period of time in the team, even being nominated for the Golden Boy award for 2019.
However, things could have been very different for him as he didn’t see a route into the Barcelona first-team at the beginning of the summer.
This led to various clubs showing an interest in signing him, with West Ham among them and the Hammers even managed to strike up a deal with his family.
The Catalan giants were helpless in this because Fati had not signed a new contract, but an issue with the youngster getting a Spanish passport eventually allowed Barcelona to step in and prevent the deal from happening.
West Ham have a history of making ambitious transfer attempts under the stewardship of David Gold and Sullivan.
Perhaps the most high profile of these targets came at the beginning of their tenure, as in 2010, the year they took over, West Ham made a £16m move for Neymar, then at Santos, as reported by The Daily Mail at the time.
However, the Brazilian side were unwilling to let the then-18-year-old leave for anything less than his £28.4m release clause.
It can be argued that their move in 2012 was even more outrageous, as they attempted to sign Fernando Torres and Carlos Tevez on loan from Chelsea and Manchester City respectively, while in the Championship.
“If he couldn’t score in the Premier League, he could come along with us for a month, we might fire him up. They just said, “Not at this moment in time”.”
He then followed that up by speaking about Tevez: “Three times we asked. Three times they said, “No chance”.”
The West Ham owners’ ambitions don’t stop on the pitch though, as they also made an attempt to recruit Carlo Ancelotti in 2015, as reported by The Telegraph.
Fati may not be on par with these names yet, but the fact that he is already making waves at Barcelona indicates that he deserves a place on the growing list of ambitious transfer targets the Hammers have missed out on.
Perhaps next time Gold & Sullivan’s ambition will translate to a genuine transfer coup.