Martin Montoya turned down a move to Liverpool so he could give his Barcelona dream one last chance.

Now the Catalan right-back is poised to get to Anfield after all – for his first away outing in Albion colours.

Brendan Rodgers wanted to take Montoya to Liverpool as he headed into the last half-season of his contract at the Camp Nou.

He knew the player was unsettled and sensed a bargain.

At the time, Montoya was disappointed not be getting into the Barca side managed by Luis Enrique and was pondering a future away from his beloved club.

But Liverpool’s interest prompted Luis Enrique to give Montoya more football.

The player himself decided to give it one last go in the thankless mission of ousting Dani Alves, the man he rates the world’s best right-back.

Montoya confirmed Liverpool’s reported interest back in January 2015 when he spoke to The Argus.

He said: “We got towards Christmas and I was playing very little.

“I was a bit sad, a bit unsettled.

“I was thinking of going in the summer.

“I was coming to the end of my contract at Barcelona.

“Liverpool called my agent to see if I wanted to leave.

“Although it was hard getting a regular place, I decided I wanted to stay there and hopefully get a new contract.

“I still had half a season to go.”

As it turned out, Montoya left that summer to join Valencia.

It ended his 16-year association with a club who clearly meant the world to him.

Unlike compatriot Bruno, who comes from a small village some way from Barcelona, Montoya did not have to leave home for his football.

He said: “I lived 20 minutes from Barcelona so I didn’t have to leave home to play at La Masía.

“I started there when I was nine. I’d finish school and the taxi would come and pick us up.

“There were four or five of us and they’d pick the players up from home one by one.

“I’ve always been a Barça fan and, for a kid to be able to play for Barcelona, it’s the best thing there is.

“I’ve got a lot memories and photos of when I was young and started playing right up until I got to the first team.

“I came through with people Tello, Marc Bartra, Tiago Alcantara. I remember Gai Assulin (the Israeli who briefly played for Albion).

“From when you’re very little the football they want you play is to play with the ball, play from the back.

The Argus:

Martin Montoya returns to his beloved Barcelona, with Valencia

“It’s beautiful football. Was it demanding? No, not at all, it was just fun. It’s a very enjoyable way of playing football.

“The players who are at Barcelona are there because they can play that way, they can adapt to that style. It’s a great way to play.

“I joined Luis Enrique when I went into the B team at the age of 17.

“He was a very important player for Barcelona and the national team so he was a big personality to be coming into Barca B.

“But it was still the same philosophy, the style that all coaches there have.

“He also wanted us to press a lot when we didn’t have the ball, be very aggressive.”

Montoya played for Luis Enrique in the B team who were promoted to the second tier, which is as high as they are allowed to climb.

So, when the same coach took over the senior side, to which Montoya had by then been promoted by Tito Vilanova, many felt it was his big chance.

The player himself told The Argus: “I also thought I would maybe have more chance because Luis Enrique had me in the B team and I played there.

“But first team is very different. You battle against the best players.

“They had Dani Alves, then they signed Douglas and Adriano could also play on the right.

“I wasn’t a regular in the team when I thought maybe I would be. But in the end, with Dani Alves, it is very difficult.”

Amid his frustration, Montoya became a big admirer of the Brazil star.

He added: “I’ve always said Dani Alves is one of the best right-backs in the world. For me he is the best.

“I learnt a lot. Every training session I learnt from how he played, how he moved. I especially liked to watch him and the way he controlled the ball – his first touch.

“He was young, Brazilian. It wasn’t like we were good mates straight away but, as time passed and I got to know him, we got on really well.”

Montoya explained how tough it was to leave the Camp Nou which, again, maybe offers some insight into his decision to resist Liverpool’s advances.

He said: “It was very hard. You’re not leaving just any club.

“It’s very hard to say you’re going to leave the club which is also your life.

“I was there for 16 years but, in the end, what a player wants to do is play and feel important.”

He will certainly be an important man if Albion are to halt the high speed Reds.