Barcelona have clearly made left-back a priority for their final transfer of the summer window as the Neymar rumors have cooled off in a major way, and it looks as though Junior Firpo of Real Betis is the preferred choice.
Betis were unwilling to talk at first, but the latest reports seem to indicate they’re willing to sell. The negotiations are underway and there seems to be a €5 million difference between Betis’ asking price and Barça’s offer, and there could be a player or two involved in the deal to make it happen. For weeks the key name has been Barça left-back Juan Miranda, but now we have an interesting development.
According to a report from Mundo Deportivo, Betis are interested in Blaugrana striker Abel Ruiz, who has two years left on his contract and a reported release clause of 100 million euros. Barça have no plans of selling Ruiz and want to use him as a backup to Luis Suárez this season, but if Betis are serious about Ruiz and use that as leverage to sell Firpo, will Barça cave in and include Ruiz in the deal?
If they do, as with Miranda, there will certainly be one or two clauses to protect Barça and allow them to bring Ruiz back on a cheaper deal if Betis exercise some sort of option to buy him in a year, but it’s hard to tell at this point. Certainly it sounds easier for Barça to just play the extra five million to avoid the risk of losing a potential star in Abel Ruiz, and they’ll probably do that in the end.
But for now we should be asking this: how valuable is Ruiz in Barça’s eyes? Is he really the striker of the future or is he just the key to make a deal for the left-back of the future? We’ll find out soon.