The Barcelona brand is synonymous with footballers of the utmost quality. And the Blaugrana board is only too happy to play on a reputation that isn’t necessarily grounded in fact.
As we tick down to the last 24 hours of the Premier League‘s transfer window, Barca are keen to cast away their unwanted to the good ship EPL in exchange for bundles of cash.
Lucas Digne has already been flogged to Everton in a €20m deal – by Premier League standards that’s not a bad deal for the France full-back – and Barca will be confident of squeezing more pounds and pennies out of England. Gerard Deulofeu has also gone to Watford for €13m, and Aleix Vidal has returned Sevilla in an €8.5m deal.
Who else could move in the coming hours and how much cash could Barcelona raise? Here’s a quick summary of the latest speculation and rumoured price tags.
MOVE LIKELIHOOD: 9/10
Manchester United were briefly interested as they scrabble around for a centre-back but Everton have stopped the flirting and put in a concrete bid worth €40 million, according to various resports in both Spain and Europe.
A hefty fee for someone who started just four La Liga games, including the dreadful 5-4 defeat to Levante which ended dreams of an unbeaten league campaign. Or does Mina’s potential make it worthwhile?
TRANSFER FEE: €40m
MOVE LIKELIHOOD: 3/10
It’s all gone a little quiet on the Jasper Cillessen front. The Dutchman is reportedly unhappy to be stuck behind Marc-Andre ter Stegen at the Camp Nou, while boss Ernesto Valverde is determined to keep his back-up No1.
Cillessen’s will is unlikely to force through a move in this transfer window unless Barca receive a suitable offer. Liverpool, Arsenal, Napoli and seemingly Chelsea are all out of the market after going elsewhere for their No1s.
TRANSFER FEE: €30m
MOVE LIKELIHOOD: 5/10
Barcelona have been desperate to move on from misfit midfielder Andre Gomes all summer but a hamstring issue sustained in pre-season has put a wrinkle in their plans.
He may not return to full fitness until the end of September but West Ham, who are in dire need of midfield reinforcements, remain interested.
TRANSFER FEE: €25m
MOVE LIKELIHOOD: 9/10
The 22-year-old defender has played just twice for Barcelona’s first-team – but it’s enough pedigree for the transfer bods to smell a profit.
On loan at Nice last season, new boss Patrick Vieira terminated the two-year deal as soon as he walked through the door. Southampton have been heavily linked from an EPL standpoint though Serie A outfit Sassuolo are closing in on his signature, according to Mundo Deportivo.
TRANSFER FEE: €12m
MOVE LIKELIHOOD: 8/10
When Barca whisked away Paco Alcacer from Valencia in a €30m deal two years ago Munir El Haddadi went the other way – now Munir is Valverde’s favoured option at Barca over Alcacer.
Too much of a specialist striker to flourish at the Nou Camp with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez around, Southampton and Watford are reportedly in competition for his signature, Alcacer is likely to move on an initial loan deal.
TRANSFER FEE: €3m (loan deal)
MOVE LIKELIHOOD: 7/10
Once a Barcelona B darling – now an ugly duckling of the senior team. Poor Sergi Samper suffered a serious ankle injury while on loan at Las Palmas last season and, upon returning to fitness, started feeling pain in his knee.
Consequently the defensive midfielder didn’t link up with Barca on tour and he has run out of chances to impress Valverde. Serie A’s Sampdoria, according to Gazzetta Dello Sport, are trying to thrash out terms.
TRANSFER FEE: €15m
MOVE LIKELIHOOD: 4/10
The talk over Rafinha’s exit has simmered down over pre-season, as the man back from a loan with Inter Milan has been a physical presence in the centre of midfield.
Unfortunately for the Brazil international, Barca have only gone and signed ultimate warrior. Arturo Vidal. He’s certainly handy as a depth option and though Tottenham and Inter are both interested in a permanent solution, he could be afforded one more chance at the Nou Camp.
TRANSFER FEE: €35m
TOTAL POTENTIAL SALES (including confirmed deals): €201.5m
Kepa Arrizabalaga’s £71m buyout clause has been met, Athletic Bilbao have announced, as the goalkeeper appears on the verge of a world record move to Chelsea.
The Basque club confirmed the 23-year-old’s release clause has been activated and his contract terminated, although there is no mention of Chelsea.
The fee is a world record for a goalkeeper, surpassing the £65m paid by Liverpool to Roma for Brazil goalkeeper Alisson Becker last month.
The Blues have reportedly made Kepa their number one target to replace wantaway Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
A statement on Athletic’s official website read: “On Wednesday, August 8, 2018 at 1202 hours (CET), the Professional Football League confirmed to us that the player, Kepa Arrizabalaga, has met the requirements for the valid unilateral termination of the work contract that linked him to Athletic Club.
“The amount of the compensation established in the contract has been deposited.
“Athletic thanks the player for his contribution during the time he has remained in our club.”
Courtois has been absent from training this week ahead of Thursday’s closure of the transfer window for Premier League clubs.
The 26-year-old, named the best goalkeeper at the World Cup as Belgium finished third, has one year remaining on his contract and reportedly wishes to join Real Madrid.
Courtois spent three years on loan at Atletico Madrid from Chelsea, before becoming the Blues’ number one in 2014-15.
Real head coach Julen Lopetegui refused to comment on Courtois after his side’s friendly win over Roma in New Jersey, insisting that Keylor Navas remains his number one.
Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic has been linked with a move in the opposite direction.
Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri declined to discuss Courtois or Kepa after his side’s final pre-season friendly on Tuesday night, against Lyon at Stamford Bridge.
Courtois is reported to have stayed away from the London club this week in an apparent attempt to force a move back to the Spanish capital, having played for Real’s city rivals Atletico from 2011-14.
The move is all the more likely to happen now that Chelsea’s would-be replacement, Athletic Bilbao stopper, Kepa has bought himself out of his contract.
But Lopetegui was tight-lipped on the saga as he addressed his goalkeeping situation after a 2-1 friendly win over Roma in New Jersey, insisting that Keylor Navas remains his number one.
The former Spain coach said in quotes on Real’s official website: “I always say that I’m not talking about players who are not at Real Madrid.
“Keylor is our goalkeeper and there are no other goalkeepers I can talk about except Keylor, Kiko (Casilla), (Andriy) Lunin and Luca (Zidane).
“Keylor is phenomenal, he has our full confidence and is an extraordinary goalkeeper. He’s delighted to belong to Real Madrid and we’re delighted with him.”
Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic has been the subject of a move in the opposite direction.
Lopetegui added: “It’s true that Mateo has expressed his desire to leave. I’ve expressed my desire for him to stay. If he leaves, we’ll see how we organise things.
“The solution that we’d look for at the right time would be a player at Kovacic’s level, someone who is a top-level footballer.
“To compete all the objectives we’ve got, we need a balanced squad.”