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Barcelona transfer news: Guardiola to poach Blaugrana star, expert's huge Griezmann claim and more - 23rd December 2017

697   //    23 Dec 2017, 19:51 IST

Getafe v Barcelona - La Liga
A move to City beckons?

Guardiola looking to sign Sergio Busquets

The former Barcelona manager has built a stunning side at Manchester City which has blown away every team in England so far. The Citizens have dropped just 2 points after 18 league games and have won a PL record 16 matches in a row. Now, he is looking to bolster his squad further in order to compete on four fronts.

Spanish news outlet, Don Balon, reports that Guardiola wants Barcelona's Sergio Busquets as a replacement for Yaya Toure. City currently have Fernandinho as first -choice for the no.6 rule while his backup is 34-year old Toure, who will be moved on in the coming year. Thus, the Citizens are looking for a replacement and Busquets fits the bill.

The Barcelona no.5 was brought to the first-team from the B team by Guardiola when the latter was promoted to first-team managerial duties in 2008. Since then, the Spaniard has been a key figure in the Blaugrana lineup winning several trophies in the past decade. Busquets currently has a €200 million release clause in his contract but City are confident of signing him for €56 million, as per the report.

However, Barcelona will not be willing to let go of a club icon but Don Balon suggests that the arrival of Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool could trigger the transfer. In such a scenario, the Catalan side could find it very difficult to replace a player of Busquets' stature while City will receive a huge boost.

Guillem Balague makes big Antoine Griezmann claim

Espanyol v Atletico Madrid - La Liga
All is not lost for Barcelona to sign Griezmann

The Atletico Madrid superstar has been in the news in recent weeks, with several news outlets linking him with a move to Barcelona. In fact, a few Barcelona players and club hierarchy spoke openly about the Frenchman, irking Atletico. The capital club subsequently raised a complaint with FIFA for illegally approaching Griezmann and the Blaugrana could face a transfer ban if the charges are proved.

While football's governing body looks at the situation, Barcelona can still sign the player should a deal be agreed. Spanish football expert, Guillem Balague, spoke about the situation on Sky Sports and revealed an interesting bit of information. He said:

“It’s very close. If he hasn’t been signed it’s because he cannot be signed but they’re very close to agreeing personal terms with Griezmann. Manchester United were the only ones to put in a massive offer for the player in the summer. "
"It was basically all agreed, the player was happy to go and then he thought about it twice because Atletico Madrid couldn’t sign anyone and he decided to stay on. That surprised Mourinho, who had spoken to Griezmann, but he didn’t go that way. Now Manchester United are waiting to see what his decision will be."
“Out of those two teams, it sounds like Barcelona are favourites, but we’ll see how it goes.”

Thus, Barcelona still have a good chance of landing Griezmann.

Stefan de Vrij wants Barcelona move

SS Lazio v ACF Fiorentina - Serie A
The Dutchman wants Barcelona move

The Lazio centre-back is looking for a move to Camp Nou, as per Don Balon. The 25-year old wants to play with Lionel Messi and co. after spending 3 years at the Rome-based club. Barcelona are currently short of defensive depth with Javier Mascherano leaving the club in January, Samuel Umtiti suffering a long-term injury and Thomas Vermaelen never impressing at Camp Nou.

This leaves Gerard Pique as the only recognised centre-back and the Spanish giants are reportedly looking for reinforcements in the January market. However, landing De Vrij will not be easy as Lazio look to make it difficult for their star defender to leave.

The Italian side are willing to let the player leave, provided he signs a new deal and Barcelona pay a considerable sum. Lazio are currently cash-strapped and see De Vrij as a valuable asset. Thus, the Blaugrana should pay up if they need the Dutchman in January.

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