The playmaker was on Southampton’s radar during the player’s time with Inter Milan and out on loan at Espanyol and Cortese has claimed the Nerazzurri did accept an offer of just over £10.3m.
However, ultimately the bid to lure Countinho to St Mary’s failed and the South American completed his switch to Liverpool soon after.
Cortese has admitted he was chasing the player for some time but could not get a deal over the line.
He told Talksport: “I started doing due diligence on him, calling agents who had players there and asking about their training regime.
“I was collecting information, just in case, but I was still far away from appointing him at the time.”