Talk about timing: just hours before Barcelona take on Real Madrid in the second-leg of the Copa del Rey semi-finals, vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu confirmed that the club are interested in securing the services of Santos sensation, Neymar.
It is widely believed that Barcelona are in pole position to secure Neymar's signature - whenever that may be - with some speculating about the existence of an agreement between Santos and Barcelona; certainly Bartomeu's quotes only serve to confirm those rumours, but they also place pressure on the Brazilian to decide his own future. When asked directly about Neymar, Bartomeu said that "Neymar has to step up and say he wants to leave Santos. At that time, the club will be there to try and sign him because the coaching staff have asked for him".
In a wide-ranging interview with BTV programme "La Porteria", Bartomeu also touched on the futures of David Villa and Victor Valdes - both of whom are rumoured to be leaving the club this summer. With regards to David Villa, Bartomeu remarked that Barcelona are keen to keep the Spaniard at the club for at least another season, but he acknowledged that the club will not stand in El Guaje's way should he ask for a transfer. Curiously, Bartomeu also hinted that the club would be willing to talk with Valdes - should he change his mind - arguing that "we will not find anyone better on the market".