Barcelona’s search for a long-term replacement for first-choice left-back Jordi Alba has led them to Valencia, with Jose Gaya emerging as the preferred target.
The Spaniard has been linked with a move to Barcelona for quite some time now with the Blaugrana looking for a player who can challenge Alba for the starting berth and eventually take over from him as the starting left-back in the years to come.
Junior Firpo proved to be a dud and was sold last summer while Alejandro Balde is still too young to be thrust into the spotlight.
Gaya, to that end, has been identified as the perfect alternative. The 26-year-old is vastly experienced, with over 200 La Liga appearances under his belt, while his best years are still ahead of him. Currently the captain of Los Che, he has been in good form of late, netting two goals and setting up three more in 13 league games this term.
Gaya’s contract with the Mestalla outfit runs out in eighteen months. And, talks over a new deal have not gone according to plans, leading to the possibility that Valencia may be forced into cashing in on him in the summer.
Now, Fichajes is reporting that the La Liga club have slapped a €50 million price tag on the Spanish international. This claim completely contradicts previous reports which had indicated that Valencia would be looking for a fee of around €30 million only.
The report from Fichajes also adds that if Barça try to bargain for a lower fee than the €50 million figure, they will cease negotiations and just point the Catalans towards Gaya’s €100 million release clause.
A proven performer at this level, the Spaniard would be the ideal replacement for Alba, who is fast approaching the twilight of his career. But whether the Blaugrana are willing to splash €50 million to sign him in the summer, at a time when budgets are tight and other positions need strengthening remains to be seen.