What’s the story?
Deportivo La Coruna defender and Barcelona target Juanfran Moreno has admitted that despite the Catalans interest in him, the right back will stay and finish this season with Deportivo. The 28-year-old who moved to Deportivo at the start of this season has been targetted by Barcelona as a replacement for the injured Aleix Vidal. The right-back spoke about Barcelona’s interest in him during a recent press conference.
“It is a compliment that a team like Barcelona are interested in me," Moreno said in the interview. “But I can say that the season is going to end for me safely at Deportivo. I'll renew and stay here for many years. I'm very glad that a team like Depor wants to keep me because that says that I'm doing something well.” He further added, “There was interest but not a formal offer. I knew it and Depor knew it. I'm sure there were other players too, but it also seems that Barcelona will decide not to sign me now”
Moreno's presser coincides with the deadline for Barca to announce to the LFP or the Liga de Futbol Professional if they want to replace Aleix Vidal, although reports are that the club has declined to sign anyone new despite the insistence of departing manager Luis Enrique.
In case you didn’t know...
Under the Spanish rules, Barcelona would be allowed to sign any free agent or players who are registered to clubs in Spain outside of the regular transfer window. Juanfran is the latest right back being linked with a move to the Spanish giant and the former Real Madrid player has been on loan from Watford at Deportivo before joining the Spanish club as a free transfer.
The heart of the matter...
Ever since Aleix Vidal’s injury, Barcelona has suffered from the lack of options at right-back and although Sergio Roberto has been filling in, the 25-year-old is not seen as a long-term replacement.
One of the targets identified by Barcelona is Juanfran Moreno the Deportivo La Coruna right-back and he has acknowledged that the Catalans are interested in signing him. The club went so far as to even send representatives to meet with him a few weeks ago, although no formal offer to join the club has arrived from Luis Enrique’s team.
The other target is Roberto Rosales of Malaga and both right-backs fit the sporting and economic conditions that would work for the Catalans to buy either player. However, Juanfran has explicitly said that he will not leave Deportivo and his intentions are to stay for many years at the Estadio Riazor. The right back has been indispensable at the back for the Spanish club in their fight against relegation and the club are currently four points above 18th place Granada.
For Juanfran, Barcelona's interest in him is a compliment and the money makes no difference to him. Despite offers of a better wage in January from Rubin Kazan, the right-back decided against leaving the club and indicated that the Branquiazuis have until 2020 to effect the "fractional payment" clause of the purchase option so that he can become their player.
However, given the 28-year old’s complex contract issues between Watford and Deportivo, Barcelona may want to look elsewhere for their options for a replacement or wait until the transfer window approaches.
For Deportivo to renew Moreno’s contract, the right-back has to fulfill a clause that has been put in by the Premier League club and till then his termination clause is around eight million euros.
Since Luis Enrique ditched the typical Barcelona formation of 4-3-3 - which has been instrumental in the Catalan’s success, for the 3-4-3, which allowed Barcelona more control and domination of play against Atletico Madrid, the team hasn't looked back. Although a switch after the 4-0 loss to PSG in the Champions League looked counterintuitive, Barcelona has made it work and done it well. This calls into question the reason to bring in reinforcements at right back, especially with the resurgence of the current Barcelona side.Published 07 Mar 2017, 09:10 IST