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Reports: Barcelona edge closer to €35 million Portuguese star's signature

Sunaadh Sagar
FEATURED COLUMNIST
News
12.33K   //    13 Jul 2017, 18:38 IST
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JULY 02: Javier Hernandez of Mexico attempts to get past Nelson Semedo of Portugal during the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017  Play-Off for Third Place between Portugal and Mexico at Spartak Stadium on July 2, 2017 in Moscow, Russia.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Nelson Semedo impressed with his performances for Portugal in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup

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.

Also Read: FIFA Confederations Cup 2017: 5 youngsters who could seal EPL transfers with good performances at the tournament

In case you didn’t know...

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

Also Read: FIFA U-17 World Cup: 5 European star footballers' unlikely link to India's World Cup campaign

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Author’s Take

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.

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