Barcelona Transfer News: Latest Rumours on Riyad Mahrez and Vitolo

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2017

STRATFORD, ENGLAND - MARCH 18: Riyad Mahrez of Leicester City celebrates  during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Leicester City at London Stadium on March 18, 2017 in Stratford, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images)
Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez is reportedly keen to make a move to Barcelona at the end of the season after the Catalan giants failed to sign him up last summer.

According to Spanish outlet Sport (via Sport Witness), Barca "walked away" from negotiations over Mahrez at the end of the 2015-16 season as the Foxes were not open to selling their star player, but now they are prepared to let the winger go.

The report continued that a switch to the Camp Nou is Mahrez's preference, although other clubs are also interested. Contact has been ongoing, and he would cost between €35 million (£30.1 million) and €40 million (£34.5 million). 

The 26-year-old played a key role in Leicester's extraordinary 2015-16 Premier League title win—he was named PFA Player of the Year.

He has struggled, along with the whole Foxes side, to replicate the same form in the current campaign, but he has impressed again recently as Leicester have moved clear of the relegation zone under new manager Craig Shakespeare.

The Algeria international's creative statistics in the Premier League over the last two terms are bettered only by Arsenal's Mesut Ozil, per WhoScored.com:

Mahrez could be a decent addition to Barca's squad, as he would provide a different attacking outlet on the right flank—he can also play through the middle.

However, given his drastic drop in form in 2016-17, the Blaugrana may be loath to take a risk on signing him up. 

An alternative attacking target could be Sevilla's Vitolo, who, crucially, already has plenty of La Liga experience.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 14: Vitolo of Sevilla during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg match between Leicester City and Sevilla FC at The King Power Stadium on March 14, 2017 in Leicester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill - AMA/
Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

According to Marca, Vitolo has been on Barca's radar for some time due to his versatility, and he could be signed in the summer for around €30 million (£25.8 million).

The 27-year-old Spaniard can play in almost any attacking position and also as a wing-back or full-back. 

Barca's starting XI is fairly consistent, especially in the more advanced positions due to the presence of Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

However, their squad has looked short on depth for some time, especially on the right flank, and Vitolo is exactly the kind of utility player who could provide cover in numerous areas.

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