We have now reached the final week of the January transfer window. Most European teams are looking for reinforcements for the second half of the season, and they only have five full days to complete and register their deals.
Barcelona is also on the move for a few transfers, according to widespread reports during this whole month, but no progress has been made so far in terms of actually completing the most rumored deals. If the reports are accurate, Barça officials need to act now if the team is getting any new faces for the rest of this campaign.
The two most mentioned transfer deals linked to Barça involve Celta Vigo's Nolito and Villarreal's Denis Suárez. Here is a look at the status of those two negotiations, as reported by Spanish outlets and as sources told Barça Blaugranes:
This is the most expected and anticipated deal of the two, especially for Blaugrana fans. The former Barça B striker has blossomed into a La Liga star since last season, and coach Luis Enrique personally asked the board for his signing. Enrique and the 29-year-old worked together at Barça B and at Celta, have great understanding and the manager feels the Spanish international is the perfect backup to the 'MSN' trio.
Nolito has been a target since the start of 2015, but due to the transfer ban, the player did not want to miss time and chose to continue with his current club. But the Blaugranes kept holding talks with the club trying to work a number of different deals. Celta's contract with Nolito includes a special, €18 million release clause that can only be exercised by Barça, and the somewhat low fee for the Catalan giants' standard made this deal look like a foregone conclusion.
However, as we've come to find out over the last several months, the Blaugrana are in a bit of financial trouble due to the huge spending in order to form the current Treble-winning squad. Because of the club's constitution, a directive board cannot spend plenty of money in consecutive seasons, especially if they don't get player sales in return. With the amount spent on the signings of Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal and only a few cheap transfers away (Pedro, Adama, Deulofeu), using 18 million on Nolito is a no go in this transfer window.
Which is why the club tried to work a loan deal with the Vigo club, adding an €18 million buy option at the end of this season, plus the loan of a young player (Sandro Ramírez). Celta seemed on board first, but the latest reports claim they've backed out of it and instead want the full payment of the release clause.
Sources told us that the deal is stuck at the moment, with the Blaugrana considering a paid loan, similar to the deal Bayern Munich did for Juventus prospect Kingsley Coman. The Catalans would pay a lower fee to loan Nolito until July, and then they'd exercise the buy option, increasing the overall amount of the transfer to about €25 million. With five days to the end of the window, they need to decide what to do fast, or Luis Enrique will be pretty angry with not getting his most desired target.
According to sources, this is a much easier situation than Nolito's. Coach Enrique spoke to Denis on the phone about his desire to bring the player back to Barça this January, and the 22-year-old was reportedly on board with the idea. Now it's up to Barça officials to complete the deal: the Catalans have a cheap €3 million buy option to be exercised in any moment over the next two seasons, and if they decide to, Villarreal cannot do anything to stop.
With the return of Rafinha Alcântara now closer and Nolito's deal imminent, there might be a chance this deal doesn't go through because the squad would not be in need of Suárez. Once again, it's up to Barça officials.
So that's the situation. The soap opera will be over in five days. Let's hope for a happy ending, whatever it is.