Cape Town - Empoli president Fabrizio Corsi says Piotr Zielinski was set to join Liverpool before being convinced to move to Napoli instead.
The 24-year-old Polish international midfielder signed for the Serie A club in August 2016.
He was tipped to be Reds boss Jurgen Klopp's first signing upon joining the club, but after a loan spell with Empoli, opted to remain in Italy.
Zielinski has thrived at Napoli, but any big money move would mean that potential buyers would have to fork out £57.8m to activate his release clause.
Corsi told Calciomercato: "He was meant to play for Liverpool.
"When he came to Naples, he had that option, but they did really well to convince him.
"I have a few regrets regarding him. He was decisive for us, but I didn’t ask for a ransom.
"I was working with Udinese’s interests in mind, who then had an agreement with Naples."