Real Madrid president Florentino Perez blocked Denis Suarez's move to Barcelona on deadline day (1 February) by denying Villarreal the chance to sign Denis Cheryshev as his replacement, according to Sport. The Russia international was wanted back at Marcelino Garcia Toral's side after a successful loan spell there last season but Perez instead sent him to Valencia to prevent strengthening Los Blancos' arch-enemies.
Barca manager Luis Enrique admitted in a press conference in December that the club were considering to re-signing Suarez after being knocked back over their first priority, Celta Vigo's Nolito. Having signed Suarez from the Manchester City's academy in 2013, the Catalans sold him to Villarreal last summer, maintaining an option to buy him back for just €3m (£2.29m, $3.27m).
However, Barcelona could only trigger the buy-back option at the end of this season, and Villarreal were not ready to negotiate the player's departure in January unless they could find a suitable replacement.
Villarreal president Fernando Roig said prior to the closure of the transfer window that Suarez would remain at the club until the end of the campaign. However, he also admitted that he was interested in signing Cheryshev, with reports in Spain suggesting they would part ways with Suarez if they could recruit the Russian.
Sport reports that both moves were on the table during deadline day, after Zinedine Zidane admitted at the weekend that Cheryshev was expected to move on loan to secure regular playing time
Barcelona, after failing to sign Nolito, were thus ready to take advantage of the situation, hoping Villarreal would sign Cheryshev and leave them free to do a deal over Suarez.
Sport claimed that the Russian wanted to go to Villarreal. However, he was forced to depart to Valencia instead, despite an apparently better offer from the "Yellow Submarine".
The Spanish publication claimed Perez turned down the bid as he did not want Barcelona to get their hands on Suarez, as well as blaming Villarreal for their Copa del Rey elimination. Los Blancos were kicked out of the cup competition for fielding Cheryshev against Cadiz, as the Russian winger still had to serve a one-match suspension after picking up three yellow cards while on loan at Villarreal last season.