Recent reports had suggested Barcelona have added a fresh name to their midfield shortlist this summer, in the form of Sergi Darder.
However, Diario AS has trashed these reports, denying Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez holding talks with the Espanyol midfielder over a potential move to Camp Nou this summer.
Formerly of Olympique Lyon, Darder has been the star player for Espanyol this past season. A central midfielder by trade, the Espanyol captain was involved in 10 league goals, even though it was not enough to help the Catalans escape relegation.
As per Diario AS, Darder is likely to leave Espanyol on a loan deal following the club’s relegation. He will join any club willing to match his salary demands, possibly with a purchase option added to the deal.
Barcelona, to that end, have linked with a move for Darder as part of their plans to reinforce their ranks in the middle of the park. Following the departure of Sergio Busquets, the club have stepped up their pursuit of a new number six in the market.
However, Barça have been quite unfortunate so far, with their top targets Joshua Kimmich and Martin Zubimendi proving to be too expensive. Ruben Neves, meanwhile, is on the verge of moving to Saudi Arabia while Sofyan Amrabat has reportedly decided to join Atletico Madrid.
With that in mind, Barcelona are scouring the market for other alternatives, with Darder apparently an option. But Diario AS dismissed reports of Xavi talking to the Espanyol midfielder, though they have not completely ruled out the possibility of Barça going after the player.
The coming weeks could be crucial, as far as the two parties are concerned and it will be interesting to see whether or not the Catalans are indeed interested in the services of the former Lyon starlet this summer.