Barcelona are reportedly interested in signing Fabian Ruiz from Napoli and have held talks with the Spaniard’s representatives over the possibility of a move.

According to a report from Catalunya Radio, Barcelona have set their sights on Napoli’s Spanish international midfielder Fabian Ruiz as Plan B after their attempt to sign Georginio Wijnaldum from Liverpool failed.

Barcelona, after a difficult debut season under Ronald Koeman, are set for a major summer of rebuild. The Catalans have already brought in as many as three players just two weeks into the off-season and more are expected to be on their way in the coming weeks.

One such player, who was touted to be signing for the Blaugrana this summer was Liverpool’s Wijnaldum. The Dutchman had been heavily linked with a move to Camp Nou for the best part of the last year and it seemed like Barcelona had got the deal over the line, only for the midfielder to pull a last-minute swerve and decide to sign for Paris Saint-Germain instead.

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This has left Barcelona scouring for alternatives for Wijnaldum, with Napoli’s Fabian Ruiz emerging as a viable option for the Catalans. Having signed for the Partenopei from Real Betis in 2018, the Spaniard has steadily developed into one of the best midfielders on display in Serie A week in week out. To date, the 25-year-old has made 128 appearances for the Italian outfit, bagging 15 goals and 10 assists in the process.

Despite Barcelona boasting of the likes of Frenkie de Jong, Pedri, Sergio Busquets, Ilaix Moriba and Miralem Pjanic in the ranks already, their need for a new midfielder is not unwarranted. Indeed, Pjanic has had a difficult debut season since arriving from Juventus last summer and is said to be on his way out of Camp Nou already while Busquets is entering the final phase of his career as well.

Thus, signing someone like Ruiz, who can operate as part of a double pivot in midfield or play as a No. 8 in a three-man unit would be a smart move by the Cules. A deal for the 25-year-old Spanish international might not be straightforward though, given Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis’ reputation of being one of the toughest negotiators in the market.

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Besides, the report also adds that the Partenopei would be willing to consider a sale if there is a cash-only offer which could be tricky for Barcelona considering their financial predicament. However, the Blaugrana have held talks with Ruiz’s agents to assess the possibility of a switch, although nothing is formal at this stage.

It will be interesting to see as to who Barcelona decide to sign now that Wijnaldum has slipped away from their grasp. Apart from Ruiz, AC Milan’s Turkish playmaker Hakan Calhanoglu has also been identified as a Plan B by the Catalan giants.

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