A new book on Sir Jim Ratcliffe has revealed that the British billionaire had held talks with Barcelona over possible investment - which eventually didn't happen.
Ratcliffe, who is estimated to have a net worth of £20 billion, is currently trying to buy Manchester United from the Glazer family.
His main competitor for United has been Qatari businessman Sheikh Jassim, who is bidding for a full takeover of the club through his Nine Two Foundation.
However, it has now been revealed that Ratcliffe, the head of the INEOS group, actually contacted Barcelona last season to acquire 50 percent of the Catalan club.
In his new book (extract quotes via The Times), the 70-year-old businessman had urged Barcelona president Joan Laporta not to sell off the club's assets - the famous "levers" - and instead accept significant investment from him.
We had an extremely interesting conversation. We told them, "Don't do it, guys - we'll put in two or three billion, renovate the Nou Camp and have 50 per cent ownership - and sign a deed to say we'd never sell."
Our interest was in football alone, not making money. I think it would have worked well.
However, the deal ultimately collapsed after Barcelona's members voted against the sale.
We talked about it but, in the end, they didn't think they could go to the fans with it.
The road they are going down is a disaster. We tried to point that out and they said, "We know, but..."
They are all short-termers [Barcelona regimes] because the president comes in, does it for five years and hands the mess over to someone else.
They have now sold a chunk of the TV rights, and merchandising rights, for the next 25 years. They've sold them to American hedge funds. So they've got this big slug of cash, which they can now... waste.
But if you looked at top football clubs - Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Manchester City and so on - they had roughly similar budgets: say £800 million for the sake of argument. Because of what Barcelona had done, theirs would be more like £500 million.
That's why we told them not to do it. But they said no, and now we've got that out of our system, we can concentrate on Nice.