Barcelona Transfer News and Rumours Tracker: Week of December 30
As we usher in the New Year, so the chequebooks are about to be prised open. Ladies and gentleman, we give you the January transfer window.
Although Barcelona tend to conduct their main transfer business in the summer, there is an argument for the purchase of a reliable central defender during January.
That's because rumours of Carles Puyol's impending retirement just won't go away—per Goal.com.
Whether Tata Martino sanctions any additions to his squad remains to be seen but let's take a look at who has been linked with the Blaugrana recently.
Remember to keep checking back throughout the week for updates.
—Last updated Thursday 2 January—
Isaac Cuenca is still a Barcelona player, which may surprise a lot of people given that he has been so far away from the first team picture for so long now.
Yet, the youngster to give him credit has now fought his way back to full fitness after his last injury and is ready to play at the highest level once more.
Given that he would be behind Alexis Sanchez, Pedro Rodriguez and Cristian Tello in the pecking order, it makes sense to loan the player out.
Eder Alvarez Balanta
Club Director Omar Salassi was quoted at the time as saying:
Balanta is worth €15 million. He is a great player with a great future.
Solassi thinks that Balanta, 20, would fit in at Camp Nou because he could offer coach Tata Martino something different from what he already has.
We would listen to offers for him. I think that Balanta would be liked by Tata Martino It would not seem odd to me if Barca are interested in him.
He is a player that will come good whichever team he plays for.
Balanta is not like Mascherano nor like Pique. He is a different sort of player with more presence. He is a strong defender, is good on the ball and knows how to play going forward.
With the transfer window now open, the rumour has resurfaced and according to the Twitter feed of Sports Journanlist Rafael Hernandez, Barca are closing in on the signature of the defender.
The player himself remains keen to leave Stamford Bridge.
The report states that despite Jose Mourinho's prior reluctance to let Luiz leave, he will now sanction a move provided the Blues get a "significant" offer.
St. Etienne's Kurt Zouma is being touted as Luiz's replacement.
Any hopes Cristian Tello had of regular first team football appeared to have been dashed.
According to James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo, the Reds did enquire about the players' availability but nothing further beyond that.
The Merseyside club are now reported to be looking at other options.
As the January transfer window finally opens for business, Barcelona may have to review their targets.
Villarreal club president Fernando Roig told reporters:
Musacchio has a contract until 2018, therefore he will be here for four more years.
If someone wants to come and pay what he is worth, then we will talk. For the player to leave, it depends on three parties, not just one or two – he has a contract.
If he is wanted, then for Villarreal it is fine, but only if the money is paid up front.
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen
The only matter holding up the announcement is Victor Valdes' reluctance to disclose his future employers.
According to Gill Clark of Goal.com, Del Castillo told Spanish daily Mundo Deportivo:
I would like to see Sergio and Messi playing together but there is nothing at all.
Sergio and Leo always speak and more after the Champions League draw. They're good friends, like laughing and they're already joking between them ahead of the City v Barça clash. We will see two great games.
Both Aguero with 19 goals in all competitions and Messi, with 14 in an injury-hit campaign, have been integral to their side's successes.
Their friendship will have to be put to one side for 180 minutes during February and March as they spearhead their teams' charge for European club football's biggest prize.
Del Castillo went on:
I love Messi so much, but I want my son's team to win. It's a pity both Barça and City are facing each other so soon.
I wish Sergio to score but the main thing is Manchester City win. Barça's players are all great but they should be careful of City's ones, as they are very good as well.
They are hungry and they need to rule Barcelona out of Champions League if they want to keep winning titles.
Conflicting reports surround the immediate future of Barca youngster Cristian Tello.
However ESPN report Rodgers as playing down any move for the player:
I’m sure that will be the start of it [speculation], and there will be plenty more.
I’ve nothing to add in terms of players coming in.
There’s nothing imminent.
Tello has long been frustrated at a lack of game time firstly under Tito Vilanova and then Tata Martino, and is likely to jump at the chance of regular first team football.
Only a month ago, he issued an ultimatum to his Catalan paymasters, reported by Miles Chambers of Goal.com:
I will see how this season goes but if from now until the end of the season I don't play as much as I would like, then I will consider leaving.
Taking that step will be very difficult but I think everyone has to evaluate their role. As the years go by, you want your role to change and you want to play more often.
It seems that his tune has changed with the emergence of the interest from Merseyside.
With a contract due to run out in June 2014, Barca could only recoup a small fee if they wanted to cash in on the player now. With that being unlikely, Montoya could well sign a pre-contract agreement and leave for nothing in the summer.
Tata Martino now has a huge fight on his hands to keep the player.
According to Talksport, Barca have decided against taking the talented young keeper because of his poor distribution.
With an emphasis on playing the ball out from the back, and this being possibly the weakest part of the Belgian's all-round game, this effectively renders the possible acquisition dead in the water.