Barcelona Transfer News: Premier League giants eye midfielder, defender doubts Neymar return and other stories - Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Another La Liga game, another Lionel Messi-inspired performance, another three points. The Spanish giants are looking good enough for another league title triumph.
However, a 2-0 loss to Pablo Machin's Sevilla in the first leg of the Copa Del Rey quarter-final has put pressure on the team with talk of the treble hanging in the balance.
The 5-time UEFA Champions League winners have been one of the most active teams in the transfer window with some serious deals already sealed. Ajax wunderkind, Frenkie De Jong has been announced as a Barca player and will join next season for €75m.
Young French centre-back, Jean-Clair Todibo will also be joining next season while Ghanaian stalwart; Kevin-Prince Boateng has joined on a loan deal from Sassuolo. With two days to go to the end of the window, more moves are expected.
Here is a look at some of the current transfer speculation concerning the Catalan side:
#1 Premier League giant hunts star midfielder
Ivan Rakitic has for some weird reason attracted the bile of armchair Cules (especially on Twitter). The Croatian has been excellent consistently for the club since he joined from Sevilla in 2015.
However, the arrivals of De Jong and Arthur Melo have signalled the intent of the club to refurbish the team's midfield with a younger collection of players. Hence, it seems that the 30-year-old may be moved in the summer to make way for the young trio (including Carlos Alena).
This has alerted some top European sides, especially in the Premier League, due to his availability. According to the Daily Express, Chelsea have registered an interest in the former Schalke 04 player.
It states that the Blues boss, Maurizio Sarri sees Rakitic as the perfect replacement for Cesc Fabregas and he would add much-needed guile and artistry to Chelsea's midfield.
No price has been mentioned yet and it looks like the story isn't dying down anytime soon.
#2 Blaugrana defender expresses doubt over Neymar
The Neymar-back-to-the-Nou-Camp stories have refused to die down despite there being little substance to it. It is one that has polarized both fan bases at the Nou Camp and the Parc-De-Princes.
While people like Luis Suarez have been enthusiastic, other Barcelona players have been less so. According to stories from Spain, left-back Jordi Alba has poured cold water on the speculation.
In an interview given to Spanish daily, Sport which was quoted by Goal.com, the Spanish international is quoted as saying:
“At the end of the day, it's what people are saying outside [the club]. But I don't think it is true.
“Neymar's a tremendous player, one of the best, but he decided to go and I don't see much logic in him wanting to come back. I don't believe it.
“He's a great player, a good friend with everyone in the dressing room, but people like Pedro and Marc Bartra were, too, for example, and they don't talk about them coming back.
“At the end of the day, everyone makes their own decisions and you have to respect them. But to be honest, I don't really believe it.”
#3 Premier League giants trail Spanish international
Still on Jordi Alba, the player himself is smack in the middle of his own transfer speculation. The 29-year-old's current contract expires in the summer of 2020 and so far, no moves regarding a renewal have been made.
This has alerted clubs across Europe with the likes of Manchester United and Juventus said to be interested in acquiring his services. The graduate of La Masia has proven to be one of the best players in his position since he returned to the Nou Camp from Valencia in 2012 for £11.2m.
According to Goal.com, the player himself is still hopeful of agreeing on a deal to stay at the Nou Camp for the nearest future. He was quoted as saying:
You never know in football, but I repeat that my intention is to stay here come what may.
“I have never seen myself outside of Barcelona, since I have been at Barca it's my dream [to stay].
“As the years have passed I have kept growing and I notice the affection from the fans even more. I have always seen myself in Barcelona and my dream is to retire here.”
Blaugrana fans will be hoping president Josep Bartomeu gets this renewal done as fast as possible.