Barcelona release Samper amid reports of Iniesta link-up at Vissel Kobe

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The Spaniard's time at the Camp Nou has come to an end, with the gifted midfielder widely expected to join his old colleague in Japan

Barcelona have cancelled the contract of midfielder Sergi Samper amid reports of an impending link-up with Andres Iniesta at Japanese side Vissel Kobe.

Samper, 24, leaves Barca after never really living up to his early promise, having been highly rated when coming through their La Masia academy.

A technically gifted midfielder, Samper was initially seen as the long-term successor to Sergio Busquets and was handed his senior debut in September 2014, appearing against APOEL in the Champions League.

He had to wait until March 2016 for his La Liga debut, and loan spells with Granada and Las Palmas followed.

But neither move went to plan, with both clubs suffering relegation from the top flight, and his development was hampered by injuries , particularly at Las Palmas.

Samper ends his Camp Nou career with a record of just 14 first team appearances in total, during an era which Barca were gifted with a plethora of world-class midfield talent.

Reports in Spain claim Samper is expected to join his former Barca team-mate Iniesta at Vissel Kobe.

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Andres Iniesta Vissel Kobe

The 34-year-old playmaker moved to Japan in 2018 and has since managed to rack up 16 appearances for the J1 league club.

Samper is expected to confirm his next move at a news conference on Tuesday, while Barcelona prepare for the Supercopa de Catalunya final against Girona later in the week.

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