Barcelona sporting director Eric Abidal refused to divulge whether the La Liga champion will pursue a January move for wantaway Paris Saint-Germain centre midfielder Adrien Rabiot.
Rabiot, 23, has been consistently linked to Barcelona and has rejected all attempts to renew a deal at the Ligue 1 giants that expires next summer. This means he is open to set-up a free transfer switch to a foreign club from January 1, but reports persist that Barca will try to expedite this process.
“Rabiot? Today isn’t a good day to talk about this, it is Murillo’s day,” said Abidal on Thursday when quizzed during loan addition Jeison Murillo’s introduction.
“We keep an eye on the market to look what is on offer and what needs we can cover.”
Neymar made a world-record €222million transfer to Paris Saint-Germain in August 2017. However, he has constantly been linked to a return to Spain, with speculation rife that he is unhappy in the French capital.
Real Madrid have reportedly been monitoring the situation, while a return to Barcelona has also been mentioned.
Arthur, who made a €40million switch to Barca this summer from Gremio, hopes his Brazil international team-mate will be his club team-mate too one day.
“I personally am praying for him to come because he is a superstar, it is indisputable,” Arthur told Mundo Deportivo.
“I think that the more great players the team has, the better.”
Arthur says he has been trying to convince Neymar to return.
“Personally, I’m doing a lot of work to get him back, but he has his life, he knows what he’s doing and I do not know how deep those negotiations are, if there are options for him to come or not.
“But he is a personal friend and a professional that I admire a lot and would be very happy if he could come back here.”
France centre-back Samuel Umtiti is set to return to Barcelona next week to “continue undergoing conservative treatment” that it is hoped will avoid the need for surgery.
Umtiti, 25, has not featured since November 24’s 1-1 draw at Atletico Madrid because of a nagging knee complaint. He had spent recent weeks in the Middle East, undergoing physical therapy designed to avoid going under the knife and face a potentially season-ending outcome.
This approach has, seemingly, worked, judging by an official announcement from the La Liga champions.
It read: “Samuel Umtiti was evaluated by the Club’s Medical Services staff at the team’s training centre this morning due to the discomfort in his left knee. Samuel Umtiti will return on December 30 to continue undergoing conservative treatment on his knee.
“This conservative treatment plan was announced on December 2, with the goal of allowing him to heal his left knee discomfort.”
Umtiti was bought from Lyon for €25 million in June 2016.
Barca have secured a loan deal for Colombia centre-back Jeison Murillo from Valencia.