Mauricio Lemos rejected Barcelona interest for Las Palmas stay

Mauricio Lemos ignored Barcelona's overtures this summer because he preferred to focus on playing regular football at Las Palmas, where he feels he's better placed to progress at this stage in his career.

Lemos, 20, was the subject of a bid from Barca which could have been as much as €12 million after add-ons, according to multiple reports in the Catalan press. Real Madrid were also credited with an interest.

Despite the eventual signing of Lyon defender Samuel Umtiti, it's claimed the Blaugrana were still keen on acquiring Lemos to complement their options in the middle of defence.

However, the Uruguayan, who joined Las Palmas for €2 million from Rubin Kazan earlier this year on the back of a successful loan spell, has explained in quotes reported by La Provincial that leaving the Canary Islands never crossed his mind.

"While we're talking about one of the best teams in the world [Barcelona], at 20 [years old] I was not going to get minutes," he said. "I think the best option was to stay with Las Palmas. Anything can happen in football, you never know how much time you're going to get to improve.

"Right now I'm thinking about Las Palmas, nothing more, and having as good a season as possible."

If Lemos' form from last season continues throughout the new campaign, there could be renewed interest in his services in January and again next summer.

For now, though, he's keen to continue his progression as a footballer at the Estadio Gran Canaria and to cast the rumours to one side.

"I tried to be calm and enjoy my time [off] with my family," he said about the speculation which dogged his future. "I was clear that I wanted to stay with Las Palmas. I'm still here, I never thought of leaving in the final days [of the transfer window].

"When I signed [earlier in the summer] I said that I'd stay for the necessary time to grow and improve. Las Palmas is the perfect place to continue developing."

Lemos made his first appearance of the season in the 1-0 win over Malaga at the weekend as Las Palmas continued their impressive start to the new campaign.

They currently sit third in the table with nine points from four games, with Barcelona and Real Madrid the only teams ahead of them.