Barcelona transfer news: Valverde's upcoming signings to convince Messi's stay, Keita's transfer saga revealed and more - 22nd November 2017
Valverde lists out 4 signings to convince Messi
In what would be the biggest news regarding free transfers ever, Lionel Messi will be open to negotiate a pre-contract with foreign clubs in January, unless he signs the new contract. The Argentine agreed a new deal in the summer but is yet to sign it. Losing arguably the best player of this generation and someone who grew up through Barcelona ranks will be a hard-hitting blow for the club.
Hence, the club is doing everything in its power to convince Messi and now Barcelona boss, Ernesto Valverde, has come up with 4 targets to ensure the 30-year old stays, as per Diario Gol. The first one on the list is obviously, Philippe Coutinho, for whom the Catalan club have been embroiled in a long transfer saga with Liverpool. Nevertheless, the Brazilian remains the no.1 priority for Barcelona with the remaining three being considered as alternatives.
The second player on the list is reportedly Arsenal's Mesut Ozil, whose contract expires in the upcoming summer. Barcelona director Raul Sanllehi is the driving force behind the deal as the Blaugrana look to complete the deal in January for a cut-price deal.
Finally, the other two players on the list are AS Monaco's Thomas Lemar and Lyon's in-form attacker, Nabil Fekir. Each target is highly-talented and Barcelona will not hesitate to go and try to sign any player if it would result in Messi staying at the club.
Leipzig CEO reveals Liverpool wanted Keita more than Barcelona
The 22-year old is considered to be one of the best young midfielders in world football and was one of Jurgen Klopp's top targets in the summer. Barcelona expressed their interest later during the summer but eventually, Liverpool signed the player and will get his services next summer. Now, RB Leipzig's CEO Oliver Mintzlaff, has opened up on what transpired behind the scenes. He spoke about Klopp being a key factor in Liverpool getting the player when he told Sport Bild:
'That's right, even more so because Barcelona were also interested in Naby Keita. This was confirmed to us by Barcelona, but obviously, they didn't try as hard as Liverpool.'
Mintzlaff further went on to clarify how Keita wanted to move but the club stuck by its decision to hold on to their players for this season. This season or the next, the dynamic midfielder would have suited Barcelona's style of play and would have been an upgrade over the likes of Ivan Rakitic and Andre Gomes.
However, given Keita's young age and football's volatile nature, Barcelona can still harbour hopes of signing the player in the coming years if he continues to grow at the current rate.
Sergi Roberto's contract talks stall
The versatile 25-year old has played in several positions for Ernesto Valverde's side so far which include central midfield and wide positions. While club president Josep Bartomeu claims that a new contract is on the horizon, Sport state that the new deal is a long way away.
Roberto's first preference remains Barcelona but reduced playing time could prove to be a major factor, especially with more signings expected in 2018. The report talks about how slow the negotiations are with his agent, Josep Maria Orobitg, who is yet to receive a concrete offer from the club. As a result, several European clubs are reportedly interested in the player's services.
Out of them, Chelsea are keen to prise the player away from Camp Nou, if the reports are to be believed. While no club will sign Roberto as long as he wants to stay at the club, it does not mean Barcelona delay the renewal. The player's contract is up in 2019, giving the Spanish club enough time to seal the deal.