The Hard Tackle brings you a roundup of the major news stories regarding current La Liga Champions FC Barcelona.
Chelsea’s Diego Costa, first team members Aleix Vidal, Arda Turan, Ivan Rakitic and youngster Marlon Santos make up the news in today’s roundup of news surrounding the Nou Camp.
Luis Enrique Explains Vidal Snub
Just as one probably began to think that things might be getting better for Aleix Vidal at the club, they seem to have gone back to the way they were. The Spaniard was once again left out of Luis Enrique’s 18 man squad for their Copa del Rey quarter-final tie against Real Sociedad at the Anoeta.
However, when asked about why he, Mathieu and Marc Andre Ter Stegen were left out of the squad, Enrique, according to their official website, said, “A coach’s job is taking decisions and I have to leave some players at home, I can only take 18.”
The 27-year-old made a rare start in Barcelona’s 5-0 victory against Las Palmas and put in a superb performance, which he capped of with one of the best goals scored at the Nou Camp this season. It drew praise from his manager, who insisted that he was ‘happy to be proven wrong’.
It seems as if that performance against Las Palmas wasn’t enough for the 27-year-old to break into the Enrique’s plans and Sergi Roberto will still be deployed as the first choice right-back for the time being.
Barcelona Want £26 Million For Turan
According to a report in the Daily Mail, the Blaugrana will accept a bid of around £26 million from any interested parties, in this case China, to part with the former Atletico Madrid midfielder. This move is also subject to the player’s willingness to move away from the Nou Camp.
Ahmet Bulut, who is Turan’s agent, was reportedly in Barcelona to speak to the club’s officials and his client about the interest being shown from China, namely Guangzhou Evergrande.
This comes as a surprise, given Turan’s form. He has scored 12 goals and registered 7 assists in 22 appearances in all competitions this term. While he hasn’t been able to break into Luis Enrique’s first team this season, he has certainly provided quality backup whenever required.
However, the current La Liga holders are looking to get his wages off their books as they look to tie down Lionel Messi with a lucrative new contract. Having already sorted out new deals with Mascherano, Neymar and Suarez, Messi is the next and the most important name on the list.
Enrique: ‘Rakitic Still Important’
The Croatian playmaker has also been linked with a move away from the Nou Camp in recent weeks after seeing his involvement in Luis Enrique’s first XI considerably reduce and Manchester City and Manchester United were both rumoured to be interested in the midfielder.
However, in his pre-match press conference, Luis Enrique has insisted that Rakitic was still in his plans for the future, but refused to divulge any information regarding a contract extension for Rakitic, who has a little over 2 seasons left on his current contract.
As quoted by Goal, he said, “Rakitic is an important player, he has been and he will be so. I’ve got nothing to say on renewals. I’ve nothing to say on mine. The key thing in a sporting aspect is that all the players are available. What I want is that they’re in a condition to play the minutes that I give them.”
In light of this speculation regarding his future, Rakitic has maintained his loyalty toward Luis Enrique, stating in an interview earlier this month: “If I had to throw myself off a bridge for him, I would do it without hesitation.”
With Lionel Messi’s pay package set to rise once the Argentine pens a new long term contract with the club, Barcelona will be looking to get rid of some of the more expensive names on their roster and for that, the likes of Ivan Rakitic, Arda Turan and Vidal may all be set for moves away.
No Attempt For Costa In The Summer
Barcelona will not be attempting a summer swoop for Chelsea hitman Diego Costa as per Goal, whose future has once against been surrounded with doubt after reports emerged of a recent training ground ‘bust-up’ with Antonio Conte regarding an injury and a massive offer from the China.
Barcelona have been known to be looking for reinforcements for Suarez, Neymar and Messi, but the report states that they are not looking for a striker just yet, instead trying to focus their financial resources to securing Lionel Messi to a long term deal.
It had been reported that the Blaugrana had joined rivals Atletico Madrid in the race for the unsettled striker, who has never quite adjusted to life outside the pitch in London. The Spaniard was also dropped from the squad for Chelsea’s last match, but Conte revealed it was only due to a back injury.
Barcelona Sign Marlon Santos
According to SPORT, Barcelona have already secured the signing of defender Marlon Santos on a permanent basis. The 21-year-old central defender joined Barcelona B in the summer on loan, with the option to make it a permanent deal, from Brazilian side Fluminense.
The Spanish publication report that this deal, said to worth around €6 million was done in December last year, but the club have not made the announcement official due to reasons unknown. Barcelona paid Fluminense €1.5 million, and the remaining €500,000 would be paid in June.
Barcelona only have to pay €2 million, as they have paid the Brazilian side €4 million to have the first option on 3 of their players in 2015. Specifically €3.2 million for Roma’s Gerson, €400,000 for Chelsea’s Kenedy and €400,000 for Marlon.
The Brazilian, who has drawn comparisons to Thiago Silva for his playing style, has not made any La Liga appearances this term for the Barcelona first team, with his only appearance coming in the Champions League, in their 0-2 victory against Celtic.
He will reportedly continue to train with the first team and feature for Barcelona’s B team for the remainder of the season, after which he will participate in the senior side’s matches from the next campaign.