Barcelona Transfer News and Rumours Tracker: Week of November 25

Jason PettigroveContributor INovember 25, 2013

Barcelona Transfer News and Rumours Tracker: Week of November 25

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    Liverpool have opened talks with Barcelona for the hire of Martin Montoya.
    Liverpool have opened talks with Barcelona for the hire of Martin Montoya.Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    It's almost that time again. The January transfer window will be open for business in just over a month's time and Barcelona will already be jostling for position in the queue.

    Will any of those deals that didn't quite come off in the summer be resurrected? Will Barca's extensive injury list force Tata Martino to dip into the Blaugrana wallet?

    Or will the return of the likes of Victor Valdes and Lionel Messi feel like new signings after their extensive spells on the sidelines?

    Let's take a look at some of the rumours already doing the rounds and remember to check back throughout the week as this page will regularly be updated.

    —LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY NOVEMBER 29—

Martin Montoya

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    Could the right back be on his way to Anfield?
    Could the right back be on his way to Anfield?Stanley Chou/Getty Images

    According to Andy Hunter of The Guardian, Liverpool's Managing Director Ian Ayre met Barcelona officials on Thursday with a view to thrashing out a January deal for Martin Montoya.

    Out of contract at the end of the season, and unable to stake a claim for a permanent residency in the Barca defence, Montoya and his agent appear to be keen to explore other avenues.

    This is despite recent claims that he hopes to sign a contract extension.

    Whether Tata Martino would be prepared to allow Montoya to leave, giving him barely any cover in the right-back area is open to debate.

Kevin Mendez

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    Penarol youngster Kevin Mendez is at the centre of a tug-of-war between five of Europe's top sides, according to Ben Jefferson of the Daily Express.

    Both Milan sides, Atletico Madrid, Liverpool and Barcelona are all keeping tabs on the highly-rated 17-year-old and Luis Suarez has advised Liverpool not to miss out his fellow Uruguayan.

    The player himself seems unfazed by the attention at this stage:

    They’re just rumours. 

    If it happens, it would be great for my family and me, and it is always nice when such clubs are interested in you. 

    But there is nothing concrete yet.

Claudio Nancufil

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    Barcelona's most important signing of the January window could be that of eight-year-old Claudio Nancufil.

    Stifle your amusement. BBC Sport report that Manchester United, ChelseaReal Madrid and Atletico Madrid are also interested in signing a player known as the 'Messi of the snows'.

    Nancufil plays for the Martin Guemes club in the southern Andes ski resort of Bariloche and club President Marcelo Ernalz has noted more than one similarity to Lionel Messi:

    As soon as he started to play at the age of four he was already different from all the rest of his playmates with regards to technique.

    How he takes the ball stuck to his foot, brakes, stops, kicks, scores, shoots on goal, from when he was little he had all these distinct qualities.

    He's physically small and had the same growth problems detected in Messi when he was little, and he's getting hormone treatment.

    As if to acknowledge the seriousness of the youngsters talent, he has been signed to a Barcelona-based PR agency run by Manuel Otero who said:

    After the Christmas holidays, he will go to try out with these three Spanish teams and then we'll see what each of them offers us.

    According to Gordan Tynan of the Independent, Otero remarked:

    We’ve had an invitation from River Plate for him to train for a week with them. [The family] are not closing any doors and England could also be a great destination for the player.

    The BBC is preparing documentaries in the run-up to the World Cup in Brazil and with Argentina they want to unite the past, present and future.

    For this, they plan to bring together Diego Armando Maradona, Lionel Messi and Claudio and with the participation of World Cup-winning coaches Cesar Luis Menotti and Carlos Bilardo.

    Claudio's mother Viviana noted:

    "We asked him, how do you do that? And he said, "I don't know. I just get it in my head and my feet move on their own. I don't know how I play like that. My legs just go.""

    Whether the young man will prove to be an astute signing at such an early age, or whether he turns into another Freddy Adu, only time will tell.

Jackson Martinez

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    Barcelona are once again tracking the Porto hit man.
    Barcelona are once again tracking the Porto hit man.EuroFootball/Getty Images

    It appears Barcelona are back in the market for Porto hit man Jackson Martinez.

    Back in March, Stefan Coerts of Goal.com noted Martinez's agent as saying:

    I can confirm that there's a strong interest from Barcelona. They are not the only Spanish team keeping tabs on him, though. There's an important team from Madrid as well.

    Additionally, there is serious interest from a big Italian team, and a few other clubs have inquired about his availability, too.

    Porto might study any offers they get, but we're talking about big bids here given the player's importance to the club.

    Now Sport (h/t Dan Coombs of hereisthecity) report that Barca sent a scouting delegation to watch the player in the game against Nacional at the weekend, a match in which he scored.

    It will take a £34.8 million bid to trigger the players release clause, but with 9 goals in 4 games already this season, he could be the marksman that Tata Martino is looking for.

Lionel Messi

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    There was never any doubt that Lionel Messi would stay at Camp Nou.
    There was never any doubt that Lionel Messi would stay at Camp Nou.David Ramos/Getty Images

    Lionel Messi has stated time and again of his desire to remain at Barcelona for the entirety of his football career, per fcbarcelona.com.

    Yet the rumours of potential bids from other suitors have never really gone away. Until now.

    Bayern Munich Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has rubbished any notion that Messi will be linking up with his former manager Pep Guardiola in Germany via the Independent:

    Messi? We are talking about figures here that are simply absurd, a transfer fee that is even higher than what we spent on Javi Martinez. We won't go there.

    Plus I know Sandro Rosell. Barcelona would never sell Messi. He is a saint at Barcelona and they will not sell him.

    And I think it would be in Messi's best interest to stay at Barcelona. He fits in perfectly there.

Sergi Roberto

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    Could another talented youngster be allowed to leave Camp Nou?
    Could another talented youngster be allowed to leave Camp Nou?David Ramos/Getty Images

    Are Barcelona really going to let another one of their young stars leave for a pittance?

    Mundo Deportivo (h/t Football Espana) seem to think so.

    Sergi Roberto has barely played for the first team this season, and is interesting AC Milan, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool.

    With a low buyout clause of €20 million, the player is affordable and his skill set would grace any side in world football.

    After letting Thiago Alcantara leave during the summer window, it would be another unmitigated disaster if Roberto was allowed to depart.

Dimitar Berbatov

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    The link to Fulham's Bulgarian international is a strange one.
    The link to Fulham's Bulgarian international is a strange one.Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Both Paul Gorst of the Mirror and Metro report a possible interest in Fulham's Dimitar Berbatov by Barcelona.

    The rationale is that the Bulgarian will provide a talented alternative to the attacking options Barcelona currently have, and any injury absences will be felt less keenly.

    Lionel Messi believes the signing will be impossible. He told TV7:

    It’s not my business to interfere with the club’s transfer decisions but I think it’s impossible for Dimitar to join Barcelona.

    I haven’t heard the rumour that Berbatov is linked to Barcelona. In fact he is a good player, he has experience in a big team.

    The Argentine may be unaware of rumours linking Berbatov and is perhaps protecting his own position.

    But you can never say never in football...

Thibaut Courtois

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    Jose Mourinho has issued Thibaut Courtois with an ultimatum.
    Jose Mourinho has issued Thibaut Courtois with an ultimatum.Scott Heavey/Getty Images

    Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is highly unlikely to become Victor Valdes' replacement in the Barca goal.

    Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has told the Belgian stopper, on loan to Madrid from the Blues, that unless he signs a new contract he will rot on the bench.

    Ben Jefferson's report for the Express goes on to say that Mourinho wants the contract extended until 2019, and has given no clue as to whether Petr Cech will indeed make way for the youngster.

    Sport (h/t Metro) reported earlier this month that the player has expressed a desire to play for the Catalans so it remains to be seen who is the winner in this tug-of-war.