Reports: Barcelona star desperate to leave for European giants
What's the story?
Sergi Roberto is on the verge of an exit from Barcelona, with Manchester United, Juventus and Chelsea keen on the 25-year-old, according to multiple reports in England and Spain. The Spaniard's relationship with the Barcelona board has broken down completely, after their purchase of Paulinho, as the Barca youth product had been assured of a role in his favoured midfield position following multiple years as a right-back. Roberto has a release clause of €40 million - that United, Chelsea and Juventus are willing to pay, with the player reportedly in talks over his salary at he moment.
In case you didn't know...
Sergi Roberto came through the ranks at Barcelona, with Pep Guardiola giving the then 18-year-old his debut in the 2010/11 season. Since then Roberto's versatility has seen him play in a variety of positions in defence, midfield and attack, although he's found regular first-team action hard to come by. The Spaniard filled in at right-back for the majority of the season last year, bringing his Barca appearance tally 154 games, scoring only 6 times for the club, the most memorable one obviously being his injury time winner against Paris St-Germain to complete the 6-1 comeback.
The heart of the matter
Barcelona's purchase of Paulinho has generated derision from a fair amount of supporters, and their displeasure is likely to be compounded by the departure of a youth product who became a fan-favourite.
Chelsea and Manchester United have been contacted by the player's entourage, according to multiple reports in Spain, with Juventus also contacting the midfielder, offering guarantees of playing time in the middle of the park, now that Mario Lemina has left the club.
If Roberto decides to move to England, Chelsea are apparently his preferred destination, as former teammates Cesc Fabregas and Pedro are already at the club, not to mention that Nemanja Matic's departure has created a gap in the squad.
Receiving €40 million for Sergi Roberto, could effectively cancel out Paulinho's signing in a monetary sense, but Barcelona may not exactly be getting the better of the deals. The Blaugrana have an election coming up soon, and Josep Bartomeu could very well find himself ousted having let fan-favourites leave.