While the Ousmane Dembele contract saga continues to dominate the headlines, the situation of versatile Barcelona defender Sergi Roberto has gone a bit under the radar.
The 29-year-old, who was named the fourth club captain for this season after Lionel Messi’s departure, is also in the final year of his contract and talks over a new deal have not progressed, reports Mundo Deportivo.
A product of the La Masia youth setup, he made his senior debut in 2010 but became a full-fledged member of the first team from the 2013/14 season. Having started out as a midfielder, the Spaniard morphed himself into a right-back in recent years and has been a handy utility player for the club.
To date, he has amassed 316 appearances for Barca, bagging 12 goals and 37 assists. However, his importance within the team has been receding with each passing season, while injuries have also hampered him quite a bit of late.
In spite of that, newly-appointed manager Xavi Hernandez had thrown his weight behind his former teammate being awarded a new contract. Roberto, too, is intent on putting pen on paper on an extension.
The club had held discussions over a two-year deal till 2024 for the Spanish international with reduced wages, similar to the other Barca captains – Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba. And, the La Masia graduate was open to agreeing to those terms.
But since those talks back in October, there has been no more dialogue from Barcelona’s end. This has led to Roberto thinking that the Catalan giants are reluctant to hand him an extension, with an exit either in January or at the end of the season now emerging as a strong possibility.
Sporting director Mateu Alemany could hold talks with the defender’s agent, Josep Maria Orobitg in the coming weeks. But all signs are pointing towards a parting of ways between Roberto and Barcelona.