Reports: €21m Barcelona star desperate to leave for Primeira Liga giants
The 2018 FIFA World Cup might force Barcelona into selling
What's the story?
Barcelona star Jasper Cillessen is on his way out of the club, according to a report in Spanish news outlet, SPORT. Benfica are the club interested, and following easy negotiations in the transfer of Nelson Semedo, the Portuguese giants have enquired about the availability of the Dutch goalkeeper, who is keen on guaranteed first-team football, since he has aspirations of appearing for the Netherlands national side in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. The Primeira Liga giants are willing to part with a large fee in the range of €21 million for the keeper, having recently lost their first-choice, Ederson, to Manchester City.
In case you didn't know...
Barcelona signed Jasper Cillessen in the beginning of the 2016/17 season to replace Claudio Bravo, who had departed for Manchester City. The Catalans paid a fee of €13 million to Ajax for the goalkeeper's services, but then manager Luis Enrique favoured Marc-Andre Ter Stegen as first choice. It resulted in Cillessen making only 10 appearances for the Blaugrana last season, 8 of which came in the Copa del Rey, with the Dutchman appearing only once in the UEFA Champions League and La Liga.
The heart of the matter
Having conceded 9 goals and kept 3 clean sheets last season, Cillessen seems to have firmly adapted to life at the Nou Camp. The Dutchman has been offered a chance in pre-season to stake a claim for the first-team with Ter Stegen on holiday following his participation in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.
The Dutchman has impressed with his performances against the likes of Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus, leading to him being a dead cert to start against Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup first leg on 13th August. However, Ernesto Valverde has already made it clear that Cillessen is his second-choice, privately.
According to the report, Benfica are hoping to pounce on Cillessen's insecurity regarding his national team place, and hope that a €21 million offer would tempt Barcelona into selling.
The goalkeeper also spoke earlier about having turned down a move to Premier League side, Crystal Palace, saying, "I have not spoken with Frank [De Boer], I know him well but I've not talked to him. No, I'm not going. I am very happy here. I spoke a lot with the new Dutch manager and he said the quality has to show every day and that's what I did. I think I did, anyway. I played the two [Netherlands] games and that's what I do - on the training ground and in the cup games here [with Barcelona]."
To make a profit of 8 million euros seems decent business for Barcelona, but the club run the risk of allowing Cillessen to leave this summer, without getting another back up in place. The Dutchman could make a move in January in search of first team football and still stake a claim for a place in the national team.