A former Barcelona scout has revealed that the Catalans twice declined to bid for Luka Modric as they though him too expensive.
Goran Vucevic, who made a handful of appearances for Barca after he was signed in 1992 by Johan Cruyff, claimed in an interview with Marca that he alerted the club to Modric when the current Real Madrid playmaker was still at Dinamo Zagreb.
Vucevic was hired as a Barca scout after his playing days came to an end and the 42-year-old, now sporting director of Hadjuk Split, says the club scouted Modric extensively.
“Modric was already beginning to stand out when I joined the Barca scouting structure,” Vucevic said.
“We followed many players and he was the most important we found around the world. We watched him play for a long time.
“He was very interesting to Barca because the club’s characteristics fit his personality.
“Modric always liked to have the ball, to pass, to move around the field, he was very comprehensive.
“Although he was young, he still looked special. He played without the pressure affecting him. He was very focused mentally and would have smoothly suited Barca.”
Modric eventually joined Tottenham Hotspur and Vucevic said Barca were put off by the price tag.
“By the time he left Zagreb for Tottenham, Barcelona wouldn’t enter the bidding. He was considered too expensive.”
Marca adds that Spurs paid €26m for the player, then aged 22.
Vucevic went on to say that he later spoke with Andoni Zubizarreta about why the club declined to sign Modric, once dubbed the Cruyff of the Balkans.
“He said that for that price, he had players in the youth system at a similar level and with similar characteristics to those of Luka.
“I think they thought about it again when he left England but the price remained too high.”
Modric departed the Premier League in 2012, signing for Real Madrid for €40m.
Vucevic doesn’t feel it is likely Barca will spend heavily on a foreign player in future, believing the club will prefer to minimise the risk of a flop by promoting from within.
“It’s difficult to say who they will sign.
“Modric is getting better and better and better.
“But sometimes you don’t want to risk it going wrong.”