Rayo Vallecano has revealed that Barcelona pursued him over a possible move in the January transfer window, but a move failed to materialise.

As quoted by Spanish publication SPORT, Stole Dimitrievski has spoken about Barcelona’s interest in him in the January transfer window. The Rayo Vallecano goalkeeper revealed that he had agreed to move to Camp Nou in the winter before a move failed to materialise due to Neto’s unwillingness to leave Barcelona.

Dimitrievski said, “In January I agreed with Barcelona. Everything was ready, the only thing missing was to sign the contract. But everything stopped because of Neto. He didn’t want to leave.”

Stole Dimitrievski has found a stable footing in his career since joining Rayo Vallecano from Gimnastic de Tarragona a few years ago. And upon securing promotion to La Liga, the 28-year-old has established himself as one of the most reliable goalkeepers in the Spanish top flight this term.

The North Macedonia international has been a dependable performer in an inconsistent Rayo Vallecano side, keeping nine clean sheets in 29 games thus far. But Dimitrievski nearly joined Barcelona in the January transfer window when the Blaugrana had looked to replace Neto with him.

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Neto has grown unsettled at Barcelona since arriving from Valencia a few years ago. The Brazilian goalkeeper has played second fiddle to Marc-Andre ter Stegen for the most part, which has not gone down well with him. As a result, the experienced shot-stopper has been keen on departing from Camp Nou in previous windows.

Neto was linked with various clubs in the January transfer window. But as Dimitrievski said, the Brazilian curiously did not want to leave Barcelona. So even though Barcelona had reached an agreement to prise the North Macedonia international away from Rayo Vallecano, a move could never materialise.

Neto is again linked with several clubs heading into the summer transfer window. But Dimitrievski might have lost his chance to join Barcelona, with Inaki Pena tipped to become Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s deputy in the 2022/23 season despite interest from Celta Vigo. It will be interesting to see if the 28-year-old stays put at Rayo Vallecano or joins another club instead.

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