Villarreal have ruled out the possibility of Denis Suarez returning to Barcelona during the January transfer window, while manager Luis Enrique remains keen on adding Celta Vigo star Nolito. Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur have identified Sandro Ramirez as a possible target.
As reported by Marca, Villarreal president Fernando Roig has ruled out a sale of Suarez, who joined the Yellow Submarine last summer. The deal included a buy-back clause the Catalans can trigger at the end of the season, but Villarreal won't let the youngster leave before the clause comes into play.
Per Matthew Rogerson of Goal, Enrique previously admitted he was thinking of bringing the 21-year-old back in January:
I think I've seen him play well, he played with Sevilla but could have played more there.
He looks good and is playing well and could be an option for us.
It's possible that players will leave but it will be based on reinforcing the team. We're looking at everything, the window hasn't opened but you always have to think about improving the team.
That means not just players coming in but also players leaving.
The winger has been an important piece of Villarreal's squad in 2015-16, both as a starter and substitute. The Yellow Submarine are enjoying a great season in La Liga and currently sit in fourth place in the standings, just three points behind Real Madrid.
Attacking depth has been an issue for Barcelona, who have been forced to deal with injuries to Lionel Messi and Neymar this season, so a deal for Suarez certainly makes sense.
Bleacher Report UK's Karl Matchett hopes it doesn't happen, however, for the sake of the player's development:
Karl Matchett @karlmatchett
Suarez has *finally* started to show consistency and end product with Villarreal, playing LM in a 442. He simply must continue that now.2015-12-29 09:46:43
Celta Vigo's Nolito is another option, and according to the latest rumours, Enrique is determined to bring the former Barcelona man back to the Camp Nou.
Per Sport's Ivan San Antonio, the manager doesn't care the Catalans have limited funds to work with during the January transfer window—he wants Nolito, a player he has enjoyed working with in the past:
Each time the question is asked about the priority of reinforcing the team, the Andalusian forward appears. Lucho had him at Barcelona B, he had him at Celta, and he wants him now, like with Rafinha. The board is conscious of this demand, and are looking for ways to satisfy their coach. What they will not do is pay the €18m release fee clause.
San Antonio goes on to say Nolito is also desperate to make the move, and he will reject Arsenal or any other top clubs from around the continent in order to keep his chances of a return to Catalonia alive.
Nolito has been crucial to Celta Vigo's attack in 2015, and the Galicians will likely do whatever it takes to stop him from leaving.
Per OptaJose, the veteran forward was exceptional in the past calendar year:
101 - Nolito has created more goalscoring chances than any other La Liga player in 2015 (Neymar, 94). Show.2015-12-29 10:59:17
Celta would be powerless to stop him should Barcelona trigger his buyout clause, but the club's dire financial situation complicates matters, per San Antonio. Even the reported €18 million could prove too high a figure in January.
In other news, Adrian Kajumba of the Daily Mirror believes Tottenham could trigger Sandro's £8.8 million buyout clause, although the Premier League side would rather enter negotiations with the Catalans and pay a lower fee for his services, with the deal including a buy-back option.
The 20-year-old has struggled during the 2015-16 campaign, showing he's not ready to perform at the highest level in limited appearances. He and Munir El Haddadi were tasked with replacing Messi when he was injured earlier this season, and neither managed to make a solid impression.
With Arda Turan set to become eligible to play, Sandro will see his minutes drop even further, so a move away from the club may not be a bad idea. Similar to Suarez's situation, the Catalans could see it as an opportunity to have someone else push the player to new heights, and Barcelona could reap the rewards by using the buy-back option.
Sky Sport's Guillem Balague thinks the Blaugrana are hoping for a sale, although Spurs have so far denied any interest:
Guillem Balague @GuillemBalague
On Sandro. FCB clearly want to sell him now and admit of interest from the PL. Spurs amongst them. Spurs deny any interest whatsoever2016-1-1 15:48:15
Tottenham lack depth in the attacking third, and deals for Marseille's Michy Batshuayi and West Bromwich Albion's Saido Berahino could prove difficult in January, per Kajumba. Ramirez could be a cost-effective option for Spurs, although the buy-back clause makes the deal a lot less enticing.