Toni Kroos reportedly agreed to join Barcelona during the summer of 2014 only for a coach to decide against the signing, and the Blaugrana made the right decision pulling out of the race for the German International.
According to a report from Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish, tweets courtesy of Barcastuff), Pep Guardiola advised Kroos to choose the Catalans, and Kroos was all but ready to make the move to Barcelona:
The move was eventually turned down by a Barcelona coach, per Mundo Deportivo, and Kroos ended up completing a transfer to hated rivals Real Madrid. Barcelona could have avoided such a scenario by signing him, but in the end, they still made the right choice.
The Blaugrana boosted their midfield unit by signing Croatian international Ivan Rakitic instead, and his early showing for the club have been very impressive. His excellent range complements Sergio Busquets' ability as a defender perfectly, as Rakitic has proven to be an effective fit for the club.
There's no telling whether Kroos would have slotted into the squad as seamlessly as Rakitic did. What we do know is that Rakitic's versatility has opened the door for Barcelona to expand how they use their midfield, and particularly the role of Busquets.
Rakitic's ability to win the ball back and work as a defensive buffer opens up space for his midfield partner to make more decisive runs forward, lending support to a group of attackers that in the past has looked disconnected from the midfield proceedings.
Fans of the Blaugrana have known Busquets is more than just a battering ram in midfield for a long time—the rest of the world is now suddenly realising what an underrated part of the team he truly is.
Rakitic also plays at a higher pace than Kroos, and his inclusion in the squad has made Barcelona's counter-attack all the more deadly. He's not restricted to a role in the centre of the pitch—unlike Kroos, he has no issues with drifting wide and making things happen on the pitch.
Kroos is a phenomenal player in his own right, and his passing ability will no doubt make Los Blancos a stronger team. But his transfer to the Spanish capital indirectly led to Xabi Alonso leaving Real, and his departure certainly was beneficial to Barcelona.
German international Kroos will now be tasked with filling Alonso's boots, and for all of his talent, he's yet to develop as a defender. He's good at snuffing out attacks, but Alonso was great at it.
The added responsibility will slow down how much of an impact Kroos can make in the passing game, and learning how to emulate Alonso will take time. As long as he hasn't reached that level, Barcelona will reap the benefits.
The Catalans no doubt would have found a way to incorporate Kroos into the team, but by passing on him, they not only gave Rakitic the chance to be the instant impact player he has become, but also indirectly weakened their closest rivals.
Perhaps without knowing it, Barcelona made one of their best decisions of the summer by not signing the mercurial Kroos.