Barcelona Winter Transfer News: Tracking Latest Rumors, Updates
A club like Barcelona is not one to stay clear of transfer rumors when the windows open.
With so many great players at the club, there is never a shortage of stories that suggest a potential exit from the club because of how much depth and competition exists in Catalunya.
At the same time, fans and the media alike are constantly barraged with 'links' to top European players who could soon be wearing Blaugrana—not surprising since essentially every player in the world would love to do so.
With the winter transfer window getting closer and countless rumors floating around daily, focus is often needed to stay abreast of realistic moves that could be made.
This article looks at four of the latest rumors or updates to previous stories that have a legitimate and documented chance of happening.
There is a strong chance that none of these moves—or non-moves—happen, but there is enough buzz happening that they are worth mentioning and discussing.
Tello Leaving Catalunya?
It seems Barcelona's affinity for attaching large release clauses to their players is hurting them with one of their best young talents.
According to Inside Spanish Football, the club has come to an agreement with Cristian Tello regarding his salary and length of contract, but have hit a stumbling block when trying to agree on a release clause.
The two parties want a figure that shows the youngster's ability, but is also realistic so it gives him flexibility to move if he fails to establish a significant role within the team.
The 21-year-old's current contract expires in 2013 at the end of June and if no deal is figured out soon, he could leave the club for free and many big clubs are apparently ready to take him in.
If talks break down and the club feels they will lose Tello for nothing, they may decide to sell him in the transfer window to get whatever they can for him.
Deulofeu Ready for Promotion?
If Tello does leave, it would likely lead to either a new offensive signing, return of Ibrahim Afellay to the team or promotion of another attacking player.
There is no question who Cules most want to see on the first-team and that young star looks just about ready for the promotion.
Gerard Deulofeu is one of the biggest names among teenagers in Europe and fans are very excited to see what he can do alongside the likes of Lionel Messi.
The 18-year-old was an absolute star at this summer's U-19 Championships and took home the tournament's Golden Player award.
He played in Barcelona's Champions League group stage match in Russia on November 20th, but is not generally seen as ready for full promotion.
However, if a few key injuries occur or a couple of forwards decide to leave the club, the La Masia prodigy could become a first-team regular after January.
Villa Unhappy, Ready to Leave?
Another player who could be on his way out either this winter or next summer is David Villa.
La Roja's all-time leading scorer is in a bit of a hard place right now as he has struggled to lock down a starting role or even play a full match despite stating he is ready to go 90 minutes.
There is also the big elephant in the room that many Cules don't want to acknowledge or accept—Villa's seemingly uneasy relationship with Lionel Messi.
The two star forwards have had a few spats on the pitch in recent weeks, which started in the first half of last season.
It seems Villa could be ready to move away from the club in order to find more playing time and a more comfortable setting than the one at Barcelona.
A false story or something truly disconcerting?
Everyone from Villa himself to Dani Alves and Tito Vilanova have denied these rumors and dismissed them as a poor attempt by the media to sell papers or create a wedge within the club, but history and body language speak for themselves.
Not only are the two players clearly not working well on the pitch, they even seem to be avoiding each other at times.
Fans will hope the rumors are baseless and prove to be nothing in the end, but we can't forget what happened with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
After the way the Swede spoke about Messi's role in the club and his feeling unappreciated, it would not be shocking to learn that Villa feels unwanted or that Messi is getting unfair treatment.
Will he be sold?
If Villa does decide to leave, there is no shortage of top clubs being linked to him.
Cules can rest a bit easier based off of what the striker himself and Vilanova has said at least.
Of course, none of that guarantees his stay in Catalunya.
No New Defensive Signing Expected?
There is no question about what Barcelona's biggest need is—central defensive help.
We've seen that relying on the options already at the club is a huge risk and could once again cost Barça late in the season.
Javier Mascherano, while most often reliable and a generally solid center-back, is just not built to be world class and cost his team goals as much as he prevents them.
Adriano is a bit better, but has the same physical short-comings and lack of experience that the Argentinian does.
Alex Song is starting to really understand his role as a defensive midfielder, but is a pretty poor central defender who can't be relied upon.
Marc Bartra has been very impressive for his age, but still has occasional lapses and can't be expected to start full-time against the best Europe and Spain has to offer.
The two Spanish starters—Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique—are world-class, but haven't been able to stay fit since early last season (even longer for Puyol).
No desire for change
And yet, despite having no clear solutions within the club, Tito Vilanova appears to have full faith in his squad and has implied that he has no plans at all to invest in another true center-back.
"We could sign taller players but I like to have fun when I'm on the bench and this is the way that we play," Vilanova told reporters.
"We have suffered from set-pieces after losing Eric Abidal and Seydou Keita but we can only try to attack more and not let them have any corners."
That doesn't sound very encouraging for fans who were hoping someone like Nicolas N’Koulou would be considered—as was rumored.