Barcelona no longer seem to be in a rush when it comes to signing players this month. “There are players that have left who have not been replaced,” Luis Enrique said at the start of January, suggesting that he felt the squad needed adding to. However, his stance has changed. “I’m not at all concerned by the lack of signings,” he said more recently, perhaps influenced by Munir El Haddadi’s goalscoring start to the new calendar year.
For that reason, there’s no hurry - at least publicly - to acknowledge a need for reinforcements. The club realise that any signs of urgency or necessity would serve as a weakness as they continue to negotiate with Celta Vigo for the Galician club’s star player, Nolito Agudo. Celta continue to stand strong and maintain that Barca will have to pay the forward’s €18 million release clause if they want to lure him away from Balaidos.
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The Catalan club, though, are not contemplating paying that fee this month due to financial restrictions. Instead, they are hopeful of completing a loan deal until the end of the season, with the option to then finalise a permanent transfer in the summer. To make this offer more attractive, Barca would include one of Munir or Sandro Ramirez, although B team players Sergi Samper and Gerard Gumbau could also prove interesting options for Eduardo Berizzo’s side.
However, it’s a proposal which Celta, until this point, have rejected. They continue to demand the release clause or nothing - not a loan deal, especially one without an obligatory option to buy in the summer. Barca are sitting tight, well aware of the rapid adaptation Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal have made to the team and therefore not in a rush.
Nolito, meanwhile, knows this could be the last chance he gets to play at Camp Nou on the home team. Barcelona know the player’s feelings and hope he will do his part in forcing through a deal which remains in exactly the same position as it did last summer: Barca pay the clause, or Nolito stays in Vigo.