What’s the story?
Barcelona are close to completing a deal for Benfica right-back Nelson Semedo, according to a report in Spanish news outlet, SPORT. The Portuguese giants have asked for more than the initial €35 million Barcelona have prepared for the 23-year-old, with Benfica hoping that Jose Mourinho’s interest in Semedo will spark a bidding war, now that Barcelona have been struck back in their chase for Arsenal youngster Hector Bellerin.
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Nelson Semedo came to the fore last season for Benfica, being a constant presence in their backline, with two goals and an impressive 12 assists from his 47 appearances for the club. The Portuguese champions have already lost goalkeeper Ederson Moraes and defender Victor Lindelof to Manchester City and Manchester United, and would be loathe to lose another player in this transfer window.
The heart of the matter
However, Semedo’s insistence on a move has dropped his price from the massive €60 million that Benfica were demanding, with Barcelona prepared to pay a fee about half of that as new manager Ernesto Valverde considers a right-back his highest priority signing, after securing the future of Lionel Messi.
The Catalan giants have sent technical directors Robert Fernandez and Javier Bordaz to Lisbon to thrash out a deal, with Portuguese journalist Hector Ruiz confirming their presence on a flight, as well as Portuguese news outlet, Record, reporting the arrival of the Barca directors.
Semedo seems the likeliest of Barcelona’s transfer targets to come through, since the move for Hector Bellerin is all but dead in the water, while moves for Cesar Azpilicueta and Djibril Sidibe remain unlikely at the moment. Multiple outlets in Portugal have reported that Semedo has agreed personal terms with Barcelona
Semedo is tailor-made for Barcelona – as his offensive play is perhaps the best among their targets. The Blaugrana have failed to replace Dani Alves adequately – and Sergi Roberto and Aleix Vidal have not set the Nou Camp pitch alight with their performances. Barcelona may have to pay slightly above market price, but given the player’s reported insistence on a move, they should get this transfer across the line.