Tottenham Hotspur full-back Serge Aurier claims he was in "advanced negotiations" with Barcelona during the summer transfer window, but believes his reputation scared off officials from the Catalan giants.
Aurier, 24, left Paris Saint-Germain for a reported fee of £23m (€26m), joining Spurs to fill the void left by Kyle Walker following his move to Manchester City. The right-back's move to north London was only confirmed on the final day of the summer window, however, after a lengthy transfer saga was delayed further by an ongoing legal issue back in France.
Aurier was given a suspended two-year prison sentence for attacking a police officer in Paris in 2016, an incident that initially saw him barred from entering the UK until he won an appeal and secured the required paperwork needed to clear him to play in the Premier League last August.
Aurier was also at the centre of a separate incident where he appeared on video insulting his teammates and former manager Laurent Blanc, earning himself a temporary ban from the first team.
Speaking to Canal Plus, Aurier insisted the treatment he received from the French press during his time in Paris made the process of finding a new club very difficult, suggesting that negative attention cost him a move to the Nou Camp.
"I think my reputation made four or five big European sides afraid," Aurier said. "I was negotiating with Barcelona, very advanced negotiations. And Barcelona's people were not sure if I came here things would be different.
"It was the right choice [to leave France]. After a while, I did not feel comfortable with the media. For me, it was never going to end. After a while, I felt like a prisoner with a camera on my back. By staying in France, I would have never washed this image."
Barcelona were in the market for a new right-back during the summer, initially targeting Hector Bellerin before eventually turning to Portugal international Nelson Semedo after Arsenal rejected their efforts to re-sign the La Masia academy product.
But according to Catalan dailies Mundo Deportivo and Sport, Aurier's claims that he was in "advanced negotiations" with Barcelona are wide of the mark, with a spokesman for the club insisting the two parties never even sat down for discussions.
Aurier has made eight appearances for Tottenham since completing his move to north London.