Juventus are reportedly exploring the possibility of signing Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta on a free transfer.
The 33-year-old's deal with the Blaugrana is set to expire at the end of the current campaign, meaning he could potentially discuss a pre-contract with suitors from January. According to Tuttosport (h/t Football Espana), the Italian champions are ready to capitalise on that situation.
As relayed by Football Espana, while Iniesta is steeped in Barcelona history and tradition, reports have been gathering pace that he may consider a new challenge away from the Camp Nou.
In the same report (h/t Football Italia) it's suggested Juventus are considering a similar deal for two other midfielders whose contracts are set to run out at the end of the season—Schalke's Leon Goretzka and Liverpool man Emre Can.
Iniesta emerged from the Blaugrana's revered La Masia academy, cemented his place in the club's first team and has gone on to enjoy an incredible amount of success with his boyhood team. With that in mind, it'd be galling for all tied to the Catalan giants to see him move elsewhere.
Indeed, despite his advancing years, the playmaker remains a fantastic performer at the highest level, as noted by Rafael Hernandez:
Rafael Hernández @RafaelH117
I hope Barça fans are watching Spain, noticing that on a team based around its midfield both Iniesta and Busquets are still exceptional.2017-9-2 20:02:27
While he cannot play every game of the campaign any more, manager Ernesto Valverde will always call on Iniesta in the biggest clashes for Barcelona. It's why some supporters will be concerned to see him linked with a move away.
However, the Blaugrana have let some key figures move on in recent years. Iniesta's long-term partner in midfield, Xavi, left the club in 2015, while Dani Alves moved last summer.
It was reported by Marca in March that the Blaugrana wanted to keep Iniesta around to head up La Masia once he retires from the game:
B/R Football @brfootball
According to reports, Barcelona are looking to fast-track Andres Iniesta into running La Masia when he retires 👀 https://t.co/a7xyOsVHBa https://t.co/gzayI5Xwoy2017-3-15 12:53:54
While Iniesta is an iconic future with his best days arguably behind him, Goretzka and Can are both footballers with their peak years to come.
Goretzka would be a fascinating acquisition for the Bianconeri. The Germany international has blossomed in recent seasons and is now one of the most multifaceted midfielders in the Bundesliga; with Sami Khedira and Claudio Marchisio a little past their peak, he'd be a smart signing.
Needless to say, ESPN's Janusz Michallik is a big fan of the 22-year-old and believes he's worth a lot more than he'd potentially go for:
Janusz Michallik @JanuszMichallik
Goretzka still at Schalke. Hardly even mentioned in rumors. £21m value (TM). I'd pay twice that, at least.2017-8-9 10:55:37
As noted by Football Italia, there have been some reports that Goretzka is set to join Bayern Munich next summer. With that in mind the Bianconeri may turn to Can.
Like Iniesta and Goretzka, he has just one season remaining on his contract, meaning a cut-price deal may be on the cards in January. Can has started the campaign in wonderful form for Liverpool, turning in a memorable performance as his side took apart Arsenal 4-0 at Anfield.
While the two Germany internationals are fine young midfielders, the prospect of adding Iniesta would be most exciting for Juve. Given how the Italian side have helped the likes of Andrea Pirlo and Alves thrive late in their careers, the Turin giants may prove a tempting option for the Barcelona icon too.