Barcelona transfer latest: Suarez, Xavi and Mathieu
Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta has confirmed that superstar Luis Suarez is “now a Barca player in all respects”. After what has been a long and protracted transfer saga, the former Liverpool frontman, famous for courting controversy, has finally completed a dream move, and will line-up alongside Neymar and Lionel Messi this season.
Expected to sign a five-year contract at the Nou Camp, Suarez will be unable to appear for the Spanish giants, or set foot in the stadium until November, when his ban for biting Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup has been served.
Zubizarreta stopped short of officially announcing the reported £75m deal, stating that “lawyers have advised us to be careful about what we say”, but did admit Suarez was “100% a member of the club”. The transfer may receive mixed reactions from Barca fans, who could question where the Uruguay forward fits into the philosophy of “mes que un club”, following his unsporting escapades in Brazil. Zubizarreta, however, insisted that Barcelona “accept people here, imperfections and all”.
As one door opens, another may be closing, with Barcelona legend and La Masia academy product Xavi Hernandez set to depart the Nou Camp. New Barca boss Luis Enrique, 5/1 to lift the Champions League this season with the Catalan giants, admitted in a press conference that the midfield maestro’s situation is “open”, with a cluster of clubs vying for his signature.
Enrique has revealed that Xavi is “still under contract and remains a reference point for the squad”, but that they are “still awaiting his decision”.
Xavi endured an embarrassing and disappointing World Cup with Spain and, following a relatively quiet campaign with Barcelona last term, may have decided it is time to seek pastures new. This decision would arrive as both Spain and Barca look to rebuild and rejuvenate their squads, making it an appropriate time for the 34-year old to exit.
Barcelona, 11/10 to win La Liga this season, have also revealed that they have lodged a bid for top transfer target, and French veteran, Mathieu. The Catalan club are keen to make defensive additions to the squad following captain Carles Puyol’s retirement, but Zubizarreta is aware that they are not the only ones in the market hunting for a talented central defender.
After claiming “80-90 percent of the top European clubs are looking for a centre half”, but that Barca are “continuing to work on it”, it appears that a deal with Valencia for the 30-year old is edging closer.
In other news
Talented winger Cristian Tello will link up again with former Spain youth international manager Julen Lopetegui, who has taken over the reins at Portuguese giants Porto. The youngster will leave on a two-year loan deal, with an option for the Estadio do Dragao club to buy if Barcelona do not recall Spain cap Tello after the first 12 months.
Stoke City and Deportivo La Coruna, meanwhile, battle it out for the services of Tello’s former clubmate Bojan Krkic, as the 23-year old mulls over his loan options ahead of the new season.