Barcelona transfer news: Pique opposes Ozil move, Valverde on Griezmann and more - 18th November 2017
Gerard Pique does not want the club to sign Mesut Ozil
Ozil is widely expected to run out his contract at Arsenal, which is set to expire in the summer. Hence, Arsenal are looking to sell the German in January instead of losing him in the summer. Several clubs were reportedly interested including Manchester United as Jose Mourinho worked with the player at Real Madrid.
In recent days, Ozil emerged as a transfer target for Barcelona. The 29-year old is rumoured to be an alternative in case Ernesto Valverde fails to land Philippe Coutinho in the upcoming transfer window. While Arsenal would prefer to sell to a foreign club than to a domestic rival, Barcelona's Gerard Pique is against the move, as per Spanish outlet Don Balon.
The 30-year old centre-back is not convinced by Ozil's performances since he joined Arsenal in 2013. Further, the fact that the World Cup winner played for arch-rivals Real Madrid is reported to be another reason for Pique's disapproval.
While Ozil is only an alternative and not the top target, it remains to be seen whether Pique commands enough power at the club to take a call on potential transfers.
Valverde talks about Antoine Griezmann
The Atletico Madrid superstar has been linked with a move away from the club since last summer. Manchester United were interested in the player but Griezmann decided to stay at Wanda Metropolitano due to the capital club's transfer ban until the upcoming January. While Manchester United were looking to return for the player next summer, Barcelona reportedly stole a march.
The Catalan side agreed a 'deal in principle' for the striker as per several reports. A question regarding the same was put forward to Valverde along with the possibility of Neymar joining Real Madrid and he responded saying:
"Neither. Rumours are rumours."
He spoke further about Griezmann saying:
"He is a great player and every time players are linked with Barcelona, they are great players. But I'm happy with the ones I have and, in the future, we'll see."
Thus, the Barcelona boss left the door open for a possible move in the coming year. Further, Griezmann's team-mate Koke advised him to leave the club if he is not fully committed to the cause, which only adds more fuel to the speculations.
Klopp wants Rakitic in Coutinho deal
Barcelona's interest in Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho is well-documented by now. The English side's owners, Fenway Sports Group (FSG), rejected three bids in the summer as they refused to sell the player. Recent reports have stated that the Catalan club will have to shell around £130 million to sign the top-scoring Brazilian of all time in the Premier League.
However, Spanish newspaper, Diario Gol, report that Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, will be willing to let the Coutinho leave for less than £130 million if Ivan Rakitic is a part of the deal. Rakitic will be one of the first midfielders in the Barcelona side whose place will be affected if the 25-year old joins Valverde's side. Further, the player, along with Andres Iniesta are rumoured to be against the move for the same reason.
Thus, Rakitic will likely be sold in January or in the summer if Coutinho arrives and adding him to the Coutinho deal can help bring the price down. Apart from that, the club can offload the Croatian, as he is set to turn 30 next March.
On the other hand, Liverpool will get an experienced player with good technique and work-rate. While he cannot replicate Coutinho's quality, he can definitely add steel to the Reds. Meanwhile, this could conclude a long-drawn saga for Barcelona.