Barcelona’s director of football Robert Fernandez has revealed the club intends to re-sign former winger Gerard Deulofeu.
The gifted but inconsistent 23-year-old came through Barca’s youth ranks, making six senior appearances between 2011 and 2013 before being allowed to leave due to a lack of opportunities.
After loan spells at Everton and Sevilla, Deulofeu moved to Goodison Park permanently but has spent the second half of this season on loan at AC Milan, and Barca are able to bring him back to Camp Nou for ¤12 million (Dh46m) due to a buy-back clause inserted into his contract when he joined Everton.
Fernandez confirmed that is the club’s intention, saying: “He is totally an option for the future. Very much so.”
Meanwhile, manager Luis Enrique is in a gung-ho mood after seeing his team earn a much-needed victory ahead of a week which will define their season.
Two goals from Lionel Messi and a strike from Paco Alcacer sealed a narrow 3-2 victory over Real Sociedad at Camp Nou on Saturday night, allowing the team to snap out of a two-game losing streak ahead of Wednesday’s meeting with Juventus in the Champions League and Sunday’s Clasico trip to Real Madrid.
Barca were well below their best on Saturday, which saw all the goals come in the first half before they fortunately escaped the second period unscathed as the visitors controlled the game.
The starting XI was very different from his usual line-up, with Jordi Alba returning to left-back, Andre Gomes starting ahead of Andres Iniesta in midfield and Alcacer replacing the suspended Neymar on the left flank.
Enrique also reverted to a 4-3-3 formation after recently preferring a three-man defence, but the ease with which Sociedad scored and mounted dangerous attacks made that switch far from successful.
And the Barca boss hinted he could be preparing to make more tactical experiments for Juventus, adding: “We will risk so much, I wouldn’t even rule out playing with eight forwards. We haven’t got anything to lose.
“We have to be flawless, but we will fight to the end and I am sure at some point in the game we will be close to a comeback.”
Leo Messi’s records against most clubs are sensational, and Saturday’s opponent at the Camp Nou are no exception.
Real Sociedad have faced the wrath of Messi in recent years, with seven goals scored by the Argentine since the 2010/11 campaign. Messi has scored in each season against La Real since then, apart from in 2014/15.
In 2010/11, Messi grabbed a brace in a 5-0 win and a year later scored in a 2-1 victory. In 2012/13, he hit another double in a 5-1 demolition before a single strike in a 4-1 win. He was unable to score in the following season’s matchup but got back to on the scoreboard in 2015/16 in a 4-0 win.
With seven goals in his last five goals against Sociedad at the Camp Nou, the Basques know they are in for another tough time but there is often very little that can be done when the magic Argentine is around.
Here is a video of his exploits against La Real at the Camp Nou, courtesy of Barcelona’s official YouTube channel.
When Barcelona and Juventus last met in the Champions League final in 2015, Dani Alves was part of a victorious Barcelona side that completed the treble with a 3-1 win over the Bianconeri that night.
On Tuesday, the Brazilian right-back will have a bittersweet moment as he faces Barcelona for the first time since his departure in the summer.
Hi Juventus side will be looking to overcome Alves’ old team and advance in this year’s Champions League.
Alves is a much-loved figure at Barcelona despite his departure, and the club have released a clip featuring his top-10 goals for the Blaugrana in anticipation of his return.
Will the Juventus right-back have a triumphant night against his old team?