Chelsea almost missed out on goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to Barcelona, former Nou Camp scout Bojan Krkic, Sr. has revealed.
Courtois, 22, joined Chelsea from Genk in the summer of 2011 for around £5 million, before spending three consecutive seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid, where he helped the Spanish club win La Liga and make it to the Champions League final last season.
Brought back to Stamford Bridge for good this summer, the Belgian international has since reaffirmed his status as one of Europe’s top shot-stoppers after being named Jose Mourinho’s new number one over long-time starter Petr Cech before the start of the season, putting in a number of commanding performances.
Krkic, however, has claimed that he implored Barca to sign Courtois before Chelsea for a cut-price deal but, while the keeper himself was keen on a move to the Catalan giants, sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta did not consider him good enough.
"Courtois was looking forward to joining the club [Barcelona]. At that time he could have signed for just €3 or €4m," he told Spanish radio station Cadena SER.
"He was ready to sign for the first team or for the second, or even go on loan.
“Zubizarreta didn't do anything with it and he joined Chelsea a few months later.”
Having at least quadrupled his value on the market since, Barca will no doubt be ruing their decision to overlook Courtois, who is now keeping another of the game’s best keepers in Cech out of the Blues side.