Valencia's Sofiane Feghouli has responded to claims Barcelona want to recruit him to replace Pedro at the Camp Nou, saying he hopes "an agreement" might be reached to sign a new deal with his current club.
The attacking midfielder told Goal.com (h/t Sport) he did not wish to further discuss the rumours linking him to the La Liga and Champions League holders, leaving his agent to deal with such matters of interest:
I cannot respond to a rumour or article in the press. If there had been contact, maybe I would react in a way, but now I am concentrating only on Valencia. I leave these matters to my agents. I am only concentrating on performing on the pitch. My agents are working on that [a new contract with Valencia] and I am hoping that both sides can reach an agreement.
Barca have a space to fill in their attack after the long-running Pedro transfer saga ended with the decorated player leaving for Chelsea.
Feghouli signed for Valencia in 2010, replacing Juan Mata, and has developed into one of their most important players, regularly scoring and assisting.
The winger started 20 matches in La Liga last term, per WhoScored.com, scoring six goals and providing six assists—despite spending a significant part of the season coming off the bench.
The Algeria international was recently subject to a move by Turkish club Fenerbahce, who admitted trying to sign the attacker before the end of the transfer window, per Peter McVitie of Goal.com. Fener met with the Los Che board to arrange the deal, but the player had no direct contact with his proposed new team.
Feghouli would be a popular signing among Barca fans, as they are looking to bring in an auxiliary talent to supplement the brilliance of Neymar and Lionel Messi.
Football writer Tom Coast commented that a recent poll indicated the Valencia player is the preferred option ahead of Leicester City's in-form attacker Riyad Mahrez:
However, Algerian journalist Maher Mezahi commented on speculation the player has further options outside of a move to Catalonia:
Mundo Deportivo (h/t talkSport) says Barca are keeping tabs on Mahrez after his outstanding start to the Premier League season.
Mahrez has four goals in as many league games for the Foxes, per talkSport, and further strong performances will see him as a viable January target for Barcelona and other top sides. The Blaugrana's transfer sanctions are lifted during the next window, allowing them time to scout a replacement for Pedro in the interim.
Both Feghouli and Mahrez would be interesting additions for Barca coach Luis Enrique, but they would have to be willing to sit on the bench for most of the campaign, with Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez always guaranteed starting berths.
Feghouli has solid La Liga experience ahead of his international team-mate Mahrez, and a promotion to Spain's top side would appeal to a player already based in the country.
Mahrez's brilliant form is a recent phenomenon, and Barca will be wary of whether he has the tools to play for them—especially when replacing a stalwart like Pedro.
However, Feghouli's capabilities are well known to the Spanish public, making him the obvious choice to strengthen the Camp Nou squad.