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La Liga midfielder turned down Barcelona approach in 2023 – report

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Photo by Rafa Babot/Getty Images

Barcelona’s situation in midfield is far from the bed of roses it appeared at the beginning of the season.

The Catalans have lost Gavi until the end of the season through an ACL injury, an out-of-favour Oriol Romeu, and are now without both Pedri and Frenkie de Jong for at least the next month.

Turning the clock back to the summer transfer window, the club were on the lookout for a new dynamic option for the midfield.

Oriol Romeu was the player who eventually made the cut, but he was one of the club’s last-ditch options at the time.

The option in Espanyol

According to Relevo, Espanyol’s Sergi Darder was one of Xavi’s favoured options to sign for the club and fill the void in midfield.

After his employers’ relegation, he had a clause on his contract that stated that he could sign for any club on a year-long loan as long as they met his salary.

Barcelona hoped to capitalise on the aforementioned clause, and Xavi even called Darder to coerce him into a move to the club. The player, however, refused as it would be unfair on his part to sign for a direct and local rival of Espanyol.

Moreover, Espanyol preferred a permanent transfer which the Catalans could not afford at that time despite Xavi seeing the player to be the ideal fit in midfield.

Darder rejected Barça twice before

Darder turned down Barcelona last summer. (Photo by Rafa Babot/Getty Images)

The source further adds that this was not the first time Darder rejected Barcelona but the third.

He had his first window to sign for the club back in his boyhood days when he was called up by La Masia for an audition. The player lasted two days but left the facility hastily after he could not adapt to the environment in the academy.

In fact, Barcelona attempted to lure him away again, but the player again dealt a rejection to the Catalans, claiming that he had decided to join the Espanyol youth setup.

Darder will face Barcelona later this week in their league clash in Montjuic, and Barcelona will look to show the player what he missed by not linking up with Xavi’s men.

In any case, however, the player is enjoying life in Mallorca and has also made it to the Copa del Rey final this year.

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