Barcelona Transfer News and Rumours Tracker: Week of December 2
Barcelona will enter the transfer window with perhaps a view to offloading one or two players and obtaining another central defender.
Aside from Marc Bartra, Barcelona's Achilles heel in defence has been in evidence on a number of occasions, and is something that needs addressing urgently to ensure Barca are fighting on all fronts come the business end of the season.
What other business are we likely to witness over the coming days? Let's take a look.
Please remember to come back and visit this page as it will be regularly updated throughout the week.
—LAST UPDATED SATURDAY DECEMBER 7—
I do keep in contact with Mascherano.
He's a lovely guy with a winning mentality, a real gladiator.
Now he plays for Barca and I cannot say more than that, but if he wants to come then I can give him a hand.
Rafa Benitez is a confirmed admirer of the Argentine and will use Reina's influence to try and get the player to swap Catalonia for Naples.
Napoli's Pepe Reina has left no one in any doubt as to his future intentions.
According to Mundo Deportivo, h/t Setanta Sports, Reina wants to return to Catalonia:
I would love to return to Barcelona. To play at Barca is a privilege.
But I imagine that my name is on a list with others. Barca is a top club and Victor Valdes’ departure will have alerted other candidates so a return will be very difficult.
Right now I’m not thinking about it. I was fortunate to play there once and I consider myself privileged to have done that.
The important thing is that I continue to do well at Napoli.
Quite what Reina's Liverpool paymasters have to make of his declaration is anyone's guess.
Jones' report notes that:
Barcelona are in the process of re-evaluating a squad that is showing signs of wear and tear.
Coach Tata Martino has seen his side lose two games in a week and president Sandro Rosell is taking stock with his staff of where and how to strengthen.
The player had been unhappy at a lack of match time but has emerged as Barca's best defender this season.
According to Metro, Pedro Rodriguez will move from Barcelona in January.
The wide man has been increasingly frustrated at his lack of opportunities this season, and a constant rotation by Tata Martino.
Barca will be loathe to sell a player who has served them well over the last few seasons and still has three years to run on his current contract.
Thibaut Courtois is an unhappy man. The Atletico Madrid stopper wants his future sorted out sooner rather than later, and Barcelona are ready to step in.
According to John Edwards of the Daily Mail notes Courtois as saying:
It is better to play without looming issues in your head at the end of the season. For now, I’m very happy at Atletico Madrid, and I am very happy to play in Spain.
But Chelsea are one of the best in the world, and that's not something that comes easy, so we will see what happens.
We have a week off over Christmas, and I will take the opportunity to speak to Chelsea.
The Belgian does not want to return to England only to keep the bench warm and be understudy to Petr Cech.
With Barca set to lose Victor Valdes at the end of the campaign, this transfer could come just at the right time for the Blaugrana.
Barcelona vice-president Josep Bartomeu has put to bed any notion of his club signing Sergio Aguero from Manchester City.
He told Mundo Deportivo (h/t ESPN) "No, we have had no contact with him. I can say that the story is not true."
"I don't know anything about that. I don't think Sergio wants to leave. That is not a problem for us. I don't believe in that."
Whilst he has been injured for some of this campaign, Cristian Tello has barely featured under Tata Martino when fully fit.
You wait and see how the season goes and if by the end I do not play what I want, I will raise out.
Taking that step will be quite difficult but I think we appreciate the role of each.
As the years pass you want the role change and to have more minutes.
With Alexis Sanchez and Neymar in such fine form, to a lesser extent Pedro, it's hard to see exactly when the youngster will get a look in.
Barcelona could be involved in a tug-of-war with Manchester United after Mundo Deportivo (h/t Dan Coombs hereisthecity) acknowledged the presence of scouts from the Catalan club at the recent Champions League tie between Borussia Dortmund and Napoli.
With a paltry release clause of only €35 million, the world's top clubs could meet any demands with ease and this leaves Dortmund vulnerable to offers for another one of their star players.
Whether the player would agree to such a move is not clear at this stage.
Antonio "Tonny" Sanabria could be about to swap Catalonia for North London with rumours of a potential bid from Premier League leaders Arsenal in the offing.
David Wright in the Daily Star reports that the player is unhappy about having to play in the Barca B team, and, as a full Paraguayan international, feels he is ready to make the step up to the first team.
Tata Martino isn't sure the 17-year-old is ready and it is this impasse that potentially will see the player leave if any club activates his €3 million release clause.
Sport, h/t Olly Dawes of hereisthecity note the player is unhappy at having to fill in at left-back rather than being utilised in his natural central defensive habitat, and told the Daily Mail:
Once there are injuries, I'm the first to fill in the gap. Sometimes it's better if you can play in only one position.
Other players specialise on one position and they can completely concentrate. I can play at left-back and I can help the team at times. But everyone knows I am not a left-back.
Available for the Champions League and cheaper than Luiz at £20 million, Vertonghen could be the answer to Barca's prayers.
Chelsea's David Luiz is having a torrid time of it under Jose Mourinho and is likely to jump at the chance to leave Stamford Bridge.
Whilst the Portuguese is unlikely to want to sell to the club that spurned him pre-Guardiola, a bid in the region of €50 million could well tempt the West London outfit into parting with a player who has no future at the club.