Barcelona Transfer News and Rumours Tracker: Week of May 26
Barcelona have just over a fortnight before the World Cup starts. That leaves very little time in which to secure any players on their list, for the price they want.
Not only will the vultures be circling after the closing ceremony for any player who has had a great tournament, but there will hardly be any time at all thereafter in which to conclude deals before pre-season training begins.
Barca have suffered in the past from doing their business too late in the window, or not doing any business at all, so time is of the essence.
Let's take a look at who is being linked in or out of the club, and remember to keep checking back throughout the week for updates.
—Last updated: Friday May 30—
According to Marca via Football Espana, the Catalans are willing to meet the players buyout clause of €60 million + taxes and make the player the most expensive signing in Spanish football history.
At 22 years old, Koke still has his best years ahead of him, and despite the price tag, it may well come to represent good value for a player who is coveted by the worlds' best clubs.
Sources close to the deal to bring Claudio Bravo to Barcelona are indicating that a deal is almost completed.
According to Pilar Suarez and Benat Escribano of Goal.com, the keeper will join the Catalans for an initial fee of €9 million, possibly rising to €12 million with add-ons.
Real Sociedad will give their blessing to the transaction for the right price, and Bravo should line up alongside Marc-Andre ter Stegen on an equal footing in the Catalans goalkeeping ranks for the 2014/15 season.
With Luis Enrique known to be keen to reshape a tired looking Barcelona squad there will likely be a few surprises, and Fabregas' sale may well be one of those.
According to Anthony Chapman of the Daily Express, De Gea has told his countryman:
He [Fabregas] is a top player, there are many clubs who want him and are in Barcelona, the club of his life.
I have spoken to him to go to Manchester, but it will be complicated.
Just how complicated we may find out shortly.
It appears that Barcelona have their goalkeeping options all but sewn up now.
Bravo has a negotiable €30 million release clause in his contract with the Basques, which runs until 2017.
The 31-year-old captain of Chile has agreed to the move after being given guarantees that he will be on an equal footing with Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
The message from Barcelona concerning Alexis Sanchez has been loud and clear. He is not for sale.
Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu spoke to Chilean newspaper El Mercurio, via Forza Italian Football:
Alexis is now preparing for the World Cup and he wants to devote his time only to this competition.
Sanchez, however, is not on the market. He has a contract with us and this is the only thing that matters.
We know nothing of Juventus and we haven’t received any offers from them. You would have to ask his agent [Fernando] Felicevich.
Many things are read nowadays and it’s better to not comment on all of these rumours. Alexis is in our plans for next season and we need him because he is a quality player.
So that's that.
Valencia's Jeremy Mathieu has made his position clear concerning a move away from the Mestalla.
Per AS via Football Espana, the defender told his manager Juan Antonio Pizzi:
I told Pizzi that Barcelona might come for me.
I also told him that I am happy at Valencia. I feel responsible for this club and the fans.
Whether he changes his mind should Barca meet his buyout clause, is purely conjecture at this stage of proceedings.
Confusion surrounds the future of Atletico Madrid's central defensive powerhouse Miranda.
Mata had previously said of his move to Manchester:
The first six months of the season were difficult because I did not play as much as I would have liked. But I always respected my [Chelsea] team-mates, tried to make the most of the opportunities I had and nothing more.
In the end there was the opportunity to go to Manchester United, a great offer, and the club also understood that it was a good choice. So the transfer happened.
But given that the Old Trafford exit door may already be swinging open, the Spaniard might not think it was a particularly good move after all.
It would appear that Alexis Sanchez is one Barca player who is deemed surplus to requirements and Italian giants Juventus have been making overtures in his direction for a while now.
According to Forza Italian Football however, their opening bid of €15 million for the player has been dismissed out of hand by a Barcelona board who are not willing to sell for anything less than €25 million.
Should Juve come back with any other offers under that price, they are only likely to be countenanced if the Bianconeri offer one of their own playing staff in part exchange. Fernando Llorente is one name that has been mentioned in dispatches.
AS Roma's Mehdi Benatia is a defender who is much in demand, with Barcelona in pole position to sign him if he becomes available.
The Italians seem initially unwilling to part with one of their prized assets but are also not in the habit of playing agent's games and renegotiating contracts so soon.
A meeting between the player's agent and club will likely make the picture clearer in the coming days.
The young Brazilian hasn't really been given too much of a chance to impress at PSG and according to Pete Jensen of the Daily Mail, contact has already been made at presidential level between the two clubs concerning Marquinhos' move to Catalonia.
The French champions want £24 million for the player but Barca are likely to offer around £16 million plus Dani Alves in order to push through the transfer.
In a deal that could see Gerard Pique end his playing career at Camp Nou, Barcelona have tied the central defender to the club until 2019 according to Jack Gaughan of the Daily Mail.
Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu called Pique "the best" and the defender was clearly delighted at the prospect of continuing to ply his trade in Catalonia:
Knowing that I could live out my career here is a big boost for me. I hope we can enjoy as many successes as we have had already.
I am very excited. In his [Luis Enrique's] press conference he showed that he’s very clear about his ideas. He knows this place well and I think he’ll do a lot of good for us.
I am really looking forward to working under him.
Out-of-favour midfielder Alex Song finds himself at the centre of a three-way tussle for his services, with Tottenham now reportedly joining the bidding, according to Jamie Anderson of the Daily Star.
Still only 26 years of age, whomever does secure Song's signature will be bagging themselves a bargain for a player still to reach his peak and who was never really given a chance at Barcelona because of the consistency of Sergio Busquets.
According to Le 10 Sport (via Patrick Surlis of Give Me Sport), Spanish newspaper Sport reports that Kroos believes he is on his way to the Catalan club—and not Manchester United, as has been widely reported.
If any deal for Kroos was to come to fruition, it would surely mean the end for either Cesc Fabregas or Xavi Hernandez at Barca.
President Aurelio De Laurentiis said:
The nod to his age is likely to be a negotiating tactic determining a more realistic price for the player.
Atletico Madrid's highly rated midfielder, Koke, is interesting Barcelona, with the Catalans keen to add a new dynamic to their midfield.
Per Sport (via Inside Futbol), Barca will try to bring Koke's €60 million buyout clause down to around €40 million at the negotiating table. Any deal would almost certainly see Fabregas move elsewhere.
Diego Simeone will surely do all he can to hold on to one of his prized assets. However, money talks. If Barca come up with the cash, he may have little option but to let the player go.