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Barcelona see 18-year-old’s arrival this summer as difficult, could depend on other operations

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Photo by JUAN PABLO PINO/AFP via Getty Images

Earlier this summer, Barcelona confirmed the signing of Athletico Paranaense star Vitor Roque in a deal worth €30 million in fixed fee and another €31 million in variables.

As part of the agreement between the two clubs, it was decided that the Brazilian sensation would not move to Spain immediately but after one year.

Ousmane Dembele’s departure, however, opened the doors for a possible advancement of his integration. With the Blaugranas’ frontline suddenly weakened, the board considered negotiating with the Brazilian club to facilitate Roque’s immediate arrival.

The 18-year-old star’s agent, Andre Cury flew to Brazil to negotiate with Athletico Paranaense. However, the club CEO made it clear in an interview that the youngster could not leave earlier than agreed.

“There’s no chance for Vitor Roque to leave and join Barça in August,” Alexandre Mattos said.

Barcelona could abort the objective 

According to Joaquim Piera of SPORT, Barcelona are aware that Athletico would demand economic compensation to speed up Tigrinho’s arrival and as such see the operation as difficult.

The Catalans cannot afford to shell out any more money for the same given that they are focusing on other signings.

Tigrinho’s arrival this summer is directly correlated with Barcelona’s pursuits of Neymar Jr and Joao Cancelo. If the club do not incorporate the duo, the striker could arrive in the final stretch of the transfer window.

Barça are working on signing Neymar. (Photo by ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images)

The plan, for now, is to try and make use of the Fair Play margin to bring in Neymar and Cancelo on loan.

If there is any margin left or if there are any unexpected departures post that, Roque’s arrival could be considered in the final stretch of the transfer window.

Alternate plans to compensate for Dembele’s departure

Joan Laporta has long advocated the return of Neymar to Barcelona, both as a marquee name and an impact player.

With PSG and the Brazilian superstar negotiating a contract termination, that dream could be close to materialising. In fact, Neymar is willing to take a pay cut to return home.

If the deal goes through, the PSG star will be the natural choice to take over Dembele’s duties on the wing. Else, the club could look towards the young crop of players including Ez Abde, Lamine Yamal, and Ansu Fati to do the job.

As for Roque, if he does not arrive now, the 18-year-old could very well make his way to the club in January 2024.

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