Turkish midfielder Ozan Tufan has revealed the details of his failed move to Crystal Palace in 2018.
Tufan began his professional career at Bursaspor in 2012, and spent three years at Timsah Arena before being snapped up by Fenerbahce for €7 million (£6m/$8m).
The 25-year-old has since emerged as a key member of the Fenerbahce team, scoring 17 goals and laying on 16 assists in 141 games, and was rewarded for his performances with a new contract last year.
The Turkey international is now tied to Sukru Saracoglu Stadium until 2023, but he came very close to leaving his homeland after attracting attention from Premier League club Palace two years ago.
Tufan says he was all set to fly to England and complete a move to Palace until an injury to Bakary Sako forced the Eagles to alter their transfer plans.
He also claims that Bayer Leverkusen made contact over his availability before he signed an extension, and has admitted that he still harbours ambitions to play in one of Europe's top leagues as he enters the prime years of his career.
"I’m 25 years old – I can’t say it is ‘young’ for a footballer. But I can say that I have fit many positive stats in these 25 years. I have featured for the national team nearly 55 times. I have experienced many lows but came out of them only stronger. I made assists, I scored goals. I feel pretty good right now," Tufan told Goal.
"Every Turkish player has Europe on their minds, but I always wanted to go there at the right time. My aim is to be consistent there for years, rather than making an appearance and then coming back to Turkey.
"Crystal Palace had showed a real interest in me a few years back and I nearly signed for them. We even had our plane tickets to England. But right before the day we planned to fly to England, Crystal Palace’s Sako got injured.
"The board had an emergency meeting and they decided to sign a replacement for him. So my move failed. They signed Alexander Sorloth instead of me. The details on this are not widely known but yes, it happened to us.
"Aside from that, before I renewed my contract with Fenerbahce, there was talks with Bayer Leverkusen. Many clubs are asking about you but your priorities lie here. A transfer is not an issue to be rushed, in my opinion. My club is Fenerbahce.
"Here, they put a plan in front of me and that plan satisfies me then I signed an extension. There were clubs who were interested in me this off-season too. Especially the Russian clubs. But I’m very happy at Fenerbahce right now and we are focused on only one thing: Becoming champions."