Atletico Madrid midfielder Arda Turan has shot down rumours he has agreed to join Barcelona on a transfer, taking to Twitter to make it clear to his fans he is not talking to the Blaugrana at the moment.
The Turkey international likely refers to reports like the one from David Salinas of Sport, who claimed the move was all but official. Meanwhile, Cadena SER (h/t AS' Jorge Garcia and Ozgur Sancar) reports Turan prefers a move to the Premier League and, specifically, Chelsea.
At Stamford Bridge, he would be reunited with Diego Costa, who still remembers his former team-mate―and his kebab―fondly, per AS English:
The 28-year-old has been Atletico's engine in midfield the past few seasons, combining great technical skills and vision with a healthy work rate and a willingness to do whatever it takes. Turan embodies what manager Diego Simeone preaches, and he's a vital component of the team's attack.
Indeed, Andy Brassell believes his departure would be a harder blow to the club than that of Costa, via Bleacher Report UK:
There's been a lot of chatter surrounding his future of late, a logical result given that in essence, Atletico are a selling club. The 2013-14 Spanish champions couldn't wipe away their tax debts following their La Liga triumph, per the Daily Mail's Pete Jenson, and have often resorted to selling their biggest stars in recent years.
Turan could be the next in line, although Simeone will do whatever it takes to keep hold of his star midfielder. Atletico already moved Mario Mandzukic on, and they'd rather not replace Turan as well. The Turk maintains he's happy in the Spanish capital, but per ESPN FC's John Brewin, that won't stop the rumour mill from doing its thing:
It's difficult to see how he would fit Barcelona's starting XI, which already contains Ivan Rakitic, who does many of the little things Turan does best. Like Turan, he's an effective stopper and distributor in midfield, who will keep running for days if he has to.
The Blaugrana can't register any players until January due to their transfer ban, via BBC Sport, and while that hasn't stopped the club from signing new names, it's hard to convince a world-class midfielder to spend half the season sitting in the stands.
If Turan does leave Atletico, a move to the Premier League seems more likely, but contrary to many of the reports that have surfaced in recent days, it's far from certain he'll leave Atletico. We'll find out more when Turan returns from holiday, but for now, fans shouldn't expect to hear official word of a transfer anytime soon.
Stoke City Want Sergi Roberto
According to Fichajes.net (h/t Stoke Sentinel's Pete Smith) Premier League side Stoke City, who already field former Barcelona players Bojan and Marc Muniesa, have now turned to Sergi Roberto as a potential transfer target, depending on how the situation with Denis Suarez plays out.
Per to the report, Suarez may be forced to return to Barcelona as the Spanish football association has informed the Blaugrana of a particular rule regarding loans:
Barca - under a transfer embargo - are not keen to let Roberto go, even if he is keen on a move to the Premier League, and possibly joining up with pals Bojan and Marc Muniesa.
But they had been willing to let highly-rated Denis Suarez go for a second season on loan at Seville to gain senior experience.
The Spanish FA, however, has pointed out a Fifa rule which prevents loans for two complete and consecutive transfer periods ... so Suarez might stay put.
Roberto signed a long-term deal with the Catalans recently but hasn't featured much since, and he likely won't play a big role in manager Luis Enrique's squad next season. Smith writes Barcelona would rather not let the player go under any circumstances, although one has to believe a loan deal could be in their best interests.
The 23-year-old provides valuable depth in central midfield, an area where Barcelona have plenty of talent. The emerging Sergi Samper will soon battle for a spot in the first team as well, and while he's a more defensive option, his presence would mean one less spot for another midfielder. Add Suarez to the mix, and it's easy to see why Roberto could be the odd man out.
For the sake of his development, Stoke would not be a bad destination, as the Potters have shown a willingness to rely on their young, creative outlets. Bojan has played some of his best football in years for the side, and Roberto would instantly be one of their top options in midfield, almost guaranteeing a starting position.
Despite all of that, Roberto will likely stay at the Camp Nou until January, at which point the transfer ban will be lifted and the Blaugrana will have a little more freedom to move their younger players around.