Barcelona Transfers: Calling Fact or Fiction on the Latest Rumours
The FC Barcelona transfer rumours are well underway with preseason fast approaching.
Tito Vilanova made his first official signing as new head coach bringing in long-term target Jordi Alba to strengthen the left hand side.
But the Spaniard will certainly want to bring in a few more fresh faces before their Supercup game with Real Madrid on August 22.
There may well have to be some outgoings for that to happen with plenty of names rumoured to be available for the right price.
So who will go? Who's coming in? We break down five of the main contenders.
Robin Van Persie: Arsenal
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Robin van Persie confirmed he would not be signing a new contract with Arsenal—alerting all of Europe's top clubs in the process.
It is still not certain whether Van Persie will see out his final year at the Emirates or leave now for a transfer fee.
But those who think they can get the Dutchman on the cheap will be disappointed.
Wenger is quite prepared to keep his talismanic striker and any suitors will have to pay mega money if they want to land the striker.
Vilanova would love to land Van Persie and a potential partnership with Lionel Messi is a mouthwatering thought.
For that to happen, David Villa would probably have to be sold and quickly.
No one knows whether he is actually available to buy now or next season—it's a risky move to sell players without having a guarantee.
Teams like Juventus, Manchester City and Paris St Germain are in a better position to make that possible move on short notice.
Javi Martinez: Athletic Bilbao
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Despite signing a long-term contract with Athletic Bilbao, it doesn't seem likely that Javi Martinez will be honouring that deal.
That's good news for Barcelona who have been keeping close tabs on the Spain midfielder.
A buyout clause of 40 million euros would be a huge stretch for Vilanova, but the Board would give the green light in exceptional circumstances—and Martinez is exceptional.
His versatility is a huge plus for Barca, with the youngster equally proficient in both midfield and defence.
With question marks over the future of Gerard Pique and Carlos Puyol, Martinez more than fits the bill.
He is hugely impressed with the club and has not been shy of coming out and expressing his admiration of La Blaugrana.
At 23, he represents the perfect age for a buying club. He's the type of player that is good enough to go straight into the first team, has lots of La Liga experience and has plenty of sell-on value if and when the time comes.
Expect Martinez to be Barca's new number one target.
Yaya Toure: Manchester City
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The ex-Barcelona man has recently expressed his desire to return to his former club.
Toure has been a revelation since joining Manchester City two years ago but could his stay at the Eastlands be a short one?
Bought as a holding midfielder, the 28-year-old has been played in a more advanced role with great success.
21 goals in two seasons is a drastic improvement from his six in three seasons in Catalania.
His new-found adaptability would be a great asset for Vilanova to have at his disposal.
The midfielder is desperate to finish his career at Camp Nou, but with Champions League football and the challenge of defending their first EPL title added to a five-year-deal, it seems unlikely that this potential deal will happen this summer.
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Probably the biggest and longest running transfer rumour on the list, Neymar, just won't go away.
There are many reports saying Barcelona have already made a down-payment on the Brazilian; however, the Santos President has vehemently denied this.
110 goals in 186 games is a record that can only be bettered by Lionel Messi, and a partnership with the Argentinean is something a lot of people are waiting to see.
The Neymar deal will happen, it's too far down the line for it not to. However, I doubt very much that it will happen this season.
With the publicity surrounding a potential transfer, I feel Vilanova and Barcelona would have already made the move official by now—that hasn't happened.
2014 will be the year Neymar comes to Spain, not a year sooner.
Verdict: Fiction (for now)
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Barcelona may not have to look too much further for their next target.
Javi Martinez's teammate and close friend Fernando Llorente is also a serious contender for the Catalans.
Tall, quick and owning a great scoring record, Llorente has it all and looks to be a natural replacement for David Villa should the veteran not fully recover from his broken leg.
The 27-year-old had 30 goals in 53 appearances last season and is available for £29 million should Barca activate his buyout clause.
Of course, they may get their man for cheaper should Bilbao want to sell their prized asset.
A double swoop for both Llorente and Martinez would not be out of the question but it would be a huge combined transfer fee.
If the Board were to sanction such a swoop, it would be a massive vote of confidence for the new Vilanova era.