Tagged in: Barcelona

Man City’s Aguero has Barcelona, PSG, Juventus as transfer options – sources

Sergio Aguero is considering interest from Juventus, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain after ruling out a return to club football in Argentina following confirmation of his exit from Manchester City this summer, sources have told ESPN.

The 32-year-old, who is the highest-scoring non-Englishman in Premier League history with 181 goals, will leave the Etihad at the end of the campaign after City confirmed on Monday that he would not be offered a new contract to replace his existing deal, which expires on June 30.

Aguero had previously stated that his ambition, at the end of his stay at City, was to return to Argentina to play for boyhood club Independiente. But sources have told ESPN that Aguero considers he can still perform at the top level in Europe for at least two more seasons and the forward is now ready to take advantage of his free agent status this summer to secure a move to one of the game’s top clubs.

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ESPN reported recently that Barca were monitoring Aguero’s situation at City amid concerns that Lionel Messi will leave Camp Nou at the end of this season.

PSG are also interested in the Argentina international, while Juve are another option with the Italian champions keen to plan for life without Cristiano Ronaldo in the event of the former Manchester United and Real Madrid forward leaving the Turin club at the end of the season.

Sources have told ESPN that Aguero is aware of interest from within the Premier League, but after 10 years in England, the player would prefer to move to Europe.

Having signed for City in a £35 million move from Atletico Madrid in 2011, Aguero has won four Premier League titles, five EFL Cup trophies and one FA Cup in his time at the club, with his winning goal, four minutes into stoppage time versus QPR in May 2012, sealing City’s first title in 44 years and becoming one of the most memorable moments in Premier League history.

But injuries, and a spell on the sidelines with COVID-19, have restricted Aguero to just four Premier League starts and one goal this season.

In total, he has made just 14 appearances in all competitions, scoring three goals. Aguero is now fit, however, and ready to contribute to City’s push for an unprecedented quadruple of Premier League, FA Cup, EFL Cup and Champions League this season.

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Catalan government gives go-ahead for 2021 Spanish GP

The government of Catalonia has given the go-ahead for Spanish Grand Prix organizers to agree a contract extension with Formula One for 2021.

The May 9 race at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya is listed as subject to contract on the sport’s record 23-round provisional calendar.

The regional government said in a statement it had authorized Circuits de Catalunya SL to sign the renewal. “The signature guarantees the celebration of the 31st consecutive edition of this event at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya,” it said.

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“The F1 Grand Prix is ​​an asset that contributes to Catalonia’s position in the world in the fields of tourism and automotive.”

The circuit agreed last year an extension to cover this year’s race, which was held in August and without spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic, after fears it would drop off the agenda.

Spain will have two drivers on the starting grid next season

With Carlos Sainz moving from McLaren to Ferrari while double world champion Fernando Alonso makes a comeback after two years out.

Alonso has returned to Renault, the team that took him to his titles in 2005 and 2006 and which is changing name to compete under the French manufacturer’s Alpine sportscar brand.

The 2021 campaign is due to start in Australia on March 21, although how that unfolds will depend on the state of the pandemic. There is also still a slot, vacated by Vietnam, to be filled on April 25.

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Cadiz shock Barcelona despite Lionel Messi’s return for the Catalans

Cadiz pulled off a shock 2-1 victory over Barcelona in La Liga on Saturday night, piling on to the mounting troubles for the Blaugrana in their domestic campaign this season.

Lionel Messi returned to Ronald Koeman’s starting XI after sitting out the midweek Champions League victory over Ferencvaros.

The hosts took a shock lead from a corner kick when Marc-Andre ter Stegen palmed the ball into the path of Alvaro Gimenez, who simply had to tap it into the net to make it 1-0.

The goal seemed to enliven Barca, who were firmly in control for the remainder of the half, but save for a near miss by Martin Braithwaite the visitors could not score and went into the half-time break trailing.

Koeman rang the changes at half-time in an attempt to spark his team, with Pedri replacing Oscar Mingueza and Ousmane Dembele coming on for Philippe Coutinho.

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Barca continued to dominate possession and drew level just before the hour mark when Messi played in Jordi Alba and his shot from a tight angle took a fortuitous deflection to beat Cadiz keeper Jeremias Ledesma.

However, Cadiz took the lead again minutes later when a miscommunication between Clement Lenglet and Ter Stegen following a throw in left Alvaro Negredo alone for a simple tap in to Barcelona’s open net.

Barca poured on the pressure down the stretch and Messi saw two good possibilities go right to Ledesma, but Cadiz were up to the task and saw out the match to take all three points and stay ahead of the Catalans in La Liga.

The victory was Cadiz’s first over Barcelona since 1991 and put them just outside the Champions League places in the table.

The Andalusians also beat champions Real Madrid 1-0 away from home earlier in the campaign.

Barca’s fourth defeat of the season left them seventh in the standings on 14 points after 10 matches and Koeman’s side have failed to win their last four away matches.

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Rakitic leaves Barca to rejoin Sevilla

Ivan Rakitic is set to become the first big name player to leave Barcelona this summer and will re-sign for old club Sevilla.

The Croatian was one of numerous Barca stars who were told they were not part of new manager Ronald Koeman’s plans moving forward at the Nou Camp.

The midfielder has agreed a two-year deal with Sevilla, with an option for a third, and will take a significant pay cut as a result, according to Goal.

Rakitic will earn £2.7million-per-year at Sevilla which is a huge decrease from the £7million he earned during his last term with Barcelona.

The 32-year-old spent three seasons with Sevilla and won the Europa League in the 2013/14 season right before he made his big switch to the Catalan club in 2014.

His return has been agreed in principle by the two clubs, who have agreed a nominal fee for now.

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Rakitic has been one of the few Barcelona stars who have been linked with moves away for quite some time.

The midfielder was attracting interest from Serie A clubs back in January, as well as being linked with Manchester United, but no move was finalized.

Whilst he has always spoken on his love for Sevilla, he had said earlier in the transfer window that he would remain at Barca for one more season to see out his contract.

However, new boss Koeman has had other plans as the LaLiga giants have descended into chaos over recent weeks with Luis Suarez, Arturo Vidal and others all told they are no longer wanted.

Lionel Messi has also not been reporting to training and testing as his feud with Koeman rumbles on amid rumours of a staggering transfer to Manchester City. Sevilla have also managed to get business done elsewhere, as they confirmed the signing of goalkeeper Yassine Bono on a permanent basis from Girona for £3.6million.

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Arthur wants to stay, Barca open to offers

Over the last few days, Arthur’s name has been linked with several moves away from the Camp Nou. The Barça midfielder is a wanted man across Europe but, according to Esporte Interativo, he’s let the club know he wants to stay and isn’t interested in a transfer elsewhere.

RAC1 claimed Barça and Juventus were in talks over a potential swap deal involving Arthur. That report stated the Italian giants had offered Pjanic in exchange and it was being considered by the sporting department. Another name linked with Barça is Tottenham Hotspur’s Tanguy Ndombele and the North London side would be open to a swap deal too.

As reported by Goal, initial discussions have taken place between the two clubs, with Juve keen on signing the 23-year-old midfielder, potentially in a swap deal that could include Miralem Pjanic.

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Maurizio Sarri is a fan of the Brazil international and is aiming to sign a midfielder when the transfer window reopens, albeit with Paul Pogba being at the top of the Serie A club’s wishlist.

Arthur has made 67 appearances in all competitions for Barca since joining the club from Gremio back in 2018 and is considered an important member of Quique Setien’s first-team squad.

He has also claimed 20 caps for Brazil and was part of the Copa America-winning side that defeated Peru in the 2019 final, with Arthur’s performances seeing him named in the team of the tournament.

While the former Gremio star is keen to remain at Camp Nou, the future of Philippe Coutinho is somewhat more uncertain.

Barca remain hopeful of offloading the 27-year-old, who is currently on loan at Bayern Munich, in the summer and have offered him to Premier League clubs in the hope of finding a buyer.

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Barcelona set for big exits due to virus

Lionel Messi, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Frenkie de Jong are the only players safe at Barcelona this summer as the Catalan club predict less spending and more player exchanges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, sources have told ESPN.

Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu insisted last month that the club would still be “capable” of landing the game’s best players, but he warned deals could be organized in a very different way after the crisis.

“There is not going to be as much money in the transfer market because of the pandemic,” Bartomeu said. “But I predict that we are going to see a lot more swap deals.”

Barcelona have already committed to two transfers that will be completed in the summer. Forward Francisco Trincao will move to Camp Nou from Braga in a €30 million deal and Las Palmas midfielder Pedri will join for an initial €5m.

However, sources have told ESPN that the club continues to target another attacker and an internal debate has developed over whether it will still be possible to sign Lautaro Martinez or Neymar — or even both — when the window opens.

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There is also a wish to sign a right-back, a centre-back to replace Gerard Pique in the long term and a physical midfielder.

Inter striker Lautaro has a release clause of €111m that becomes active in the first two weeks of July. However, sources say Barca have “no intention” of paying that much. There have already been several meetings with the Serie A side and the possibility of including players to lower the price has been discussed.

Neymar remains Barca’s other big target. A year ago, Barca offered PSG several combinations of cash plus players, with Philippe Coutinho, Ivan Rakitic, Samuel Umtiti, Jean-Clair Todibo and Ousmane Dembele all put forward. PSG rejected the proposals then, but Barca hope they will change their stance this summer with Neymar’s deal up in 2022 and the possibility of the player invoking Article 17 to force an exit unilaterally.

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Barca granted permission to sign striker

Barcelona have finally been given authorization to sign a new forward to replace the injured Ousmane Dembélé.

The Frenchman underwent surgery on a torn hamstring and is expected to miss close to six months of action, while striker Luis Suárez is also sidelined with a knee injury, so Barça have applied to the RFEF for special permission to sign a replacement outside of the transfer window.

Now, Mundo Deportivo state that the RFEF have granted Barcelona permission to bring in a new striker, so La Blaugrana now have 15 days to find a new striker.

They are allowed to sign someone from another Spanish side or a player who is currently without a club.

Getafe’s Ángel Rodríguez, Alavés’ Lucas Pérez and Real Betis’ Loren Morón have all been suggested, but MD believe that Leganés striker Martin Braithwaite is the most likely candidate to arrive at Camp Nou in the coming weeks.

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The club have long been linked with pretty much every striker in Spain, but director Guillermo Amor confirmed (via ​Sport) that there was a delay in gaining permission from the RFEF.

Before the ruling, he said: “A lot has been said but we still don’t have the green light from the RFEF to sign. We’ve still not received anything official. If we do, the club will take the decision that has to be taken.

“First we have to see if we get authorisation. What’s clear is that the club have been working on this a lot. We work hard every day, analysing and improving and, when the moment comes, we will do what’s best for the club. That’s not in doubt.” 

A possible reason for the delay could have been ​La Lig​a’s ambiguity over Dembélé’s injury. It was suggested that league officials were not convinced the winger will miss six months of action, so they were working closely with a specialist team to try and identify whether such a layoff would actually make sense.

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