Ismaila Sarr has been making plenty of headlines for ending Liverpool’s 44-game unbeaten run in the Premier League, but the Watford forward says he could have been generating more at Barcelona.
Back in the summer of 2017, eye-catching exploits at Metz saw the Senegalese forward attract interest from across Europe.
Admiring glances were shot in his direction from Camp Nou, with La Liga heavyweights eager to buy into obvious potential.
Sarr was, however, to shun Barca’s advances and remain in France at Rennes.
Two years there earned him a move to Watford, with the 22-year-old now basking in the glow of a stunning brace against title hopefuls Liverpool.
Sarr told the Hornets’ official website of passing up the chance to head for Catalunya: “When I moved to Rennes in 2017, it was a last-minute transfer.
“It is true that I chose Rennes over Barcelona and I made this decision because I didn’t want to go to Barcelona to just sit on the bench or play in the B level.
“I wanted to play, I just really wanted to play and that’s why I chose to go to Rennes.
“I heard many good things about the place. I didn’t know anyone there before joining, though. It didn’t matter for me that the club was in France, all I cared about was playing.
“I didn’t feel any pressure from the big transfer fee, I never feel that kind of pressure with transfer prices.
“We had a good season when I went to Rennes. We finished fifth in the first season and we finished lower in the league the second season, but we won the Coupe de France, so we were really pleased because we qualified for the Europa League.”
Sarr was snapped up by Watford for a reported club-record fee of to £40 million ($52m), with a man who now has six goals to his name this season delighted to have been given a chance in England.
He added: “My transfer to Watford was similar to Rennes. It was last-minute.
“I got a call to say that I was going to Watford. I was in training and I heard that they were negotiating, and I said I was going home and that when they made their decision, they could give me a call.
“It was very important to me, transferring to the Premier League, and even more so being Watford.
“I always wanted to play in the Premier League because I’ve always liked it since I was small, and I used to watch it a lot.
“I used to like Manchester United. I always watched the Premier League more than any other league. Everyone in Senegal watches Premier League football.
“I’ve been at Watford for six months now. I haven’t got a favourite moment at Watford though, because every day is great. Every day I wake up to go and train, and that’s great for me.”