The name Mikel San Jose isn’t likely to ring any bells among Premier League followers, not even those of his former club Liverpool.
The 25-year-old Athletic Bilbao centre-back was once on the books of the Reds, earning himself a three-year deal under former boss Rafael Benitez.
Aged just 18 in 2007, he signed on the dotted line and moved to Merseyside with high hopes of making a name for himself at Anfield in the mould of fellow Spanish stars Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso and Luis Garcia.
However, football doesn’t always pan out as planned and San Jose spent two years in the reserves before returning to Bilbao on a season-long loan deal.
The former Spanish U21 star had a solid season, and with strong rumours that Benitez was to depart Liverpool that summer, San Jose decided to make his deal at Bilbao permanent – joining a unique list of players to move to Liverpool and never represent the first team in the process.
Fast forward four years and now an integral part of Bilbao’s Champions League qualifying side, San Jose has just extended his contract at the club until 2018 with a release clause of €35 million (£28.5m), according to Spanish publication Marca.
Throughout last season’s La Liga campaign, the former Liverpool reserve player started 19 matches, making an impressive 57 tackles, 55 interceptions and 89 clearances.
Is San Jose that star Liverpool player that got away? With the club in desperate need of bolstering their defence this summer, perhaps he is.