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The latest on Barcelona’s ‘Operation Exit’

Four players remain on the club’s transfer list

FC Barcelona v Villarreal CF - La Liga Santander Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images

Barcelona’s busy summer transfer window is not just about the arrivals. They continue to work on players leaving the club, something that the press has called “Operation Exit”.

The first step was taken this weekend when Óscar Mingueza was sold to Celta Vigo on a deal worth about €3 million. The full-back was one of five players the club want to get rid of, and the others on the list could be on their way out soon.

Midfielder Riqui Puig is a target of Major League Soccer’s LA Galaxy, who in the last couple of days submitted an official offer to Barça for the 22-year-old. The Blaugrana won’t play hardball when it comes to the transfer fee, but the obstacle is Puig’s willingness to move to the United States at this point of his career. Riqui still hopes to play in Europe but there are no concrete offers yet and the MLS deadline for new signings is August 4, so a decision on Puig’s future must be made soon.

Martin Braithwaite has accepted his fate and is looking for a move away, and the latest reports suggest he will negotiate a release from his contract to become a free agent, which would allow an easier path to join a new club. There’s interest from Getafe in La Liga, a few Premier League teams and in recent hours he received a major offer from a club in Saudi Arabia, and it looks as though the Dane’s exit will become official in the next few days.

Samuel Umtiti was very, very close to a move to Rennes in France but things broke down when the French club had doubts about the player’s fitness, but a new team has emerged as a serious candidate for Big Sam: Olympiacos in Greece have expressed interest and begun talks with both Barça and the player, with a loan move in which both teams share Umtiti’s salary the most likely outcome as of now.

The most complicated case as of now is goalkeeper Neto, who continues to find himself close to a move before seeing it break down: Celta Vigo almost signed him last month before giving up due to his high salary demands, and Napoli have shifted their interest towards Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga. There’s still a month left in the transfer window and the expectation is Neto will eventually find a new home, but his exit might take a little more time.

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