Leo Baptistao left Espanyol in January but Marc Roca could have gone, too. The club had offers on the table for the highly-rated young midfielder, but they didn't want to negotiate a deal and pointed to his release clause.
West Ham and Inter Milan, in that order, were the teams that made moves for Roca last month. The first to make their move was the English side, but it was the Italians who pushed harder.
Roca's form is, without doubt, one of the highlights of Espanyol's season. While his form, like the team's in general, has dipped in recent months, he remains a key player in midfield. Rubi's given him a big role and he has a big future in the game.
FIRST: west ham
The side coached by Manuel Pellegrini made, during the first half of January, contact with Espanyol. They asked about Roca, without making an official offer. And they didn't return after the Catalan club pointed to the player's 40 million euro release clause.
West Ham, who have ex-Espanyol players Pablo Zabaleta and Carlos Sanchez in their squad, quickly realised they didn't have a chance of doing a deal in January. They're one of the clubs who regularly have a scout in Cornella.
They weren't first on the scene but Inter did push harder. The Serie A side were also pointed to the release clause but they made, without success, and alternative offer.
Inter were especially interested in a loan until the end of the season with an option to buy in the summer. Espanyol didn't budge: 40 million or no deal.
Roca, who has a contract until 2022, is one of the brightest talents to come out of the club's academy. So far this season, he's been an indisputable starter for Rubi.