Barcelona sporting director Robert Fernandez was present at the Copa America quarter-finals between Argentina and Venezuala, fueling rumors that he could be scouting Argentine defender Ramiro Funes Mori. However, he has now clarified that Barcelona are not interested in signing the player.
Ramiro Mori had signed for Everton in 2015 after four years in the Argentine top flight with River Plate. The center-back went on to score 5 goals from 37 appearances for the Toffees in all competitions.
It was speculated that Barcelona were interested in the 25-year-old, after sporting director Robert Fernandez was spotted at the Copa America quarter-finals between Argentina and Venezuala.
However, he has now clarified that the purpose of his trip was to check up on Barca players Javier Mascherano and Lionel Messi. Mascherano is courting interest from Juventus and Fernandez was in America to personally offer a contract extension.
While Funes Mori is on the Catalan club’s radar, Fernandez has ruled out a move for the Everton player this summer.
“He’s a good player and we’ve known him well for a long time, but we’re not going to sign him this summer,” he told Sport.
Funes Mori’s agent Jorge Cysterpiller has also confirmed that there have been no negotiations between the Argentine and Barcelona.
Defensive crisis at Barcelona
Barca were recently rocked by the loss of their legendary right-back Dani Alves, who is set to join Serie A giants Juventus next season. He could be followed by Argentine midfielder turned center-back Javier Mascherano, who has also been linked with a move to Juventus. This would leave Barcelona with only two of their first choice defenders and with the Herculean task of finding world class replacements.
La Masia product Sergi Roberto and former Sevilla player Aleix Vidal will compete for the right-back position next season, but central defence remains a huge worry.
The only other experienced center-back Barca have in their squad, apart from Mascherano and Pique, is 30-year old Thomas Vermaelen.