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Girona’s Stuani confirms January approach from Barcelona

21:10 GMT+4 25/02/2019
Cristhian Stuani Girona La Liga 2018-19
The Liga champions were looking to raid their Catalan rivals for the Uruguay international but the striker is please to have signed a new deal

Barcelona were interested in signing Girona’s Cristhian Stuani in January, the striker himself has confirmed.

The 32-year old Uruguay international has set La Liga on fire in the past two campaigns, scoring 21 goals last season for Girona as they finished 10th in their first campaign in the Spanish top flight.

That goal total was good for fifth in the league last season, and Stuani has continued his fine form this term, scoring 13 goals, over half his team's total for the campaign, as Girona battle to avoid the relegation places.

Only Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez have found the net more times this season than Stuani, and there were reports in January that the reigning champions were looking to raid their local Catalan rivals to bring the striker to Camp Nou.

But Barcelona would instead make the loan move for Sassuolo’s Kevin-Prince Boateng and Stuani would sign a new contract with Girona, extending his stay until 2022.

Stuani had declined to comment on those rumours in January but has now opened up about the process, admitting on RAC1’s ‘Tu Diras’ radio show that Barca did come for him in the winter window.

“Yes, there was interest from Barcelona,” Stuani told Tu Diras. “I'm proud that a team as great as Barcelona thought about me.

“But I'm also happy about signing a new deal with Girona."

After their marvellous debut season in the top-flight, Girona currently sit 15th in the Liga table on 27 points, leaving them just four points above the drop zone, albeit with a game in hand on their relegation rivals.

Reports have circulated suggesting that should Girona be unsuccessful in their attempt to stay up that Stuani’s new contract contains a relegation release clause which would allow him to depart for greener pastures.

However, Stuani denied the existence of such a clause while also insisting Girona will be able to remain in the top flight for another season.

"No, there's no relegation clause,” Stuani added. “I'm convinced that we won't be relegated. Our objective is to remain in the division.”

Girona gave themselves a big boost to their survival hopes a week ago with a 2-1 win over Real Madrid and face Real Sociedad on Monday.