Former Real Madrid and Wales manager John Toshack has claimed he recommended Gareth Bale to Barcelona prior to his move to Tottenham.
Bale, 21, joined Spurs from Southampton in 2007 in a deal worth up to £10 million, but he has recently been rated at around £50 million after a series of impressive performances during 2010.
Barca, Madrid and Inter are all believed to have shown interest in Bale, but Toshack claims he gave the Spanish champions the chance to sign the player before he achieved European acclaim.
"I spoke with (former Barca sporting director) Txiki Begiristain and said that we had a very interesting player whose progress was being followed with great interest," he told Cadena COPE.
"Barcelona are the best, and Bale is the best in his position. If Lionel Messi is brilliant in tight spaces, Gareth is brilliant over the long distances. He is a very fast player."