According to Bleacher Report, the Hammers had been pursuing the highly-rated Spaniard in the summer of 2019, with the youngster having reportedly been contemplating an exit from the Camp Nou amid concern over his potential first-team chances in Catalonia.
The suggestion is that the east Londoners had “agreed” a deal with the player’s family regarding what would have been a remarkable move, with the Guinea-Buissea-born wonderkid having at that stage failed to sign a new contract with the La Liga giants.
As the story goes, however, issues regarding the 5 foot 10 forward obtaining a Spanish passport ultimately put paid to the deal, with the winger subsequently going on to sign a professional contract later that same summer.
That inability to get the deal done no doubt stung for GSB, with the player swiftly going on to showcase his quality after forcing his way into the first-team set-up at his current side at the start of the 2019/20 campaign, becoming the club’s youngest-ever goalscorer at just 16 years and 304 days.
While injury woes have somewhat halted his progress since then, the £54m-rated ace still boasts a remarkable record for a player who is still only 19, having scored 21 goals and provided eight assists in 66 games at senior level to date.
Such is his standing with the Blaugrana, the £268k-per-week sensation was even chosen to be the man to take on Lionel Messi’s number ten shirt following the Argentine’s departure for Paris Saint-Germain last summer.
The expectation is that should he be able to shake off his recent injury issues, the “generational” talent – as dubbed by coach Xavi Hernandez – will go on to become a leading asset for both club and country in the years to come.
The four-cap maestro has also been lauded by compatriot and club colleague Eric Garcia of late, with the former Manchester City defender praising his teammate as someone who is simply “born with that talent and that magic.”
That quality has been shown in the early weeks of the new season with the electric gem having provided four goal contributions in just eight games thus far in all competitions, with a greater impact expected once he is truly back to full fitness.
It will likely smart for those back at the London Stadium that they seemingly came so close to securing the signature of one of Europe’s hottest prospects, with Irons supporters likely to have loved the chance to see such an outstanding prospect develop before their eyes.
As for Barcelona, the historic club appear keen to prevent a similar scenario occur in the future in which they almost lose such a prize possession, having handed Fati a new long-term deal last year that reportedly included a release clause worth €1 billion (£846m).
That colossal fee is a marker of just what a talent West Ham have missed out on. He could have been magic in the Premier League.