Barcelona have confirmed that 18-year-old winger Yusuf Demir is to return to former club Rapid Vienna after the Catalan giants moved to cut short his loan deal early.
Demir becomes the third player to leave the Camp Nou in the January transfer window and follows Philippe Coutinho and Alex Collado in departing Barcelona as the Catalans try to trim their wage bill.
There could be more departures to follow to. Diario Sport journalist Toni Juanmarti has reported Demir “will not be the last” departure this winter and adds there could be “at least one more, and possibly more.”
Barca confirmed the news on the club’s website on Thursday, January 13. An official statement read, “FC Barcelona and SK Rapid Vienna have reached an agreement to end the loan of Yusuf Demir, who will be returning to the Austrian club.”
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Why Has Demir Left Barcelona Early?
Demir arrived at the Camp Nou in the summer of 2021on a season-long loan and initially signed for Barcelona B. The Catalans confirmed he had cost Barça €500,000 and the transfer included a non-mandatory purchase option set at €10 million.
The forward had impressed in Austria before his move to Barcelona with Rapid Vienna to such an extent that he had even been dubbed the “Austrian Messi” by some outlets due to his playing style and dribbling ability.
The teenager started life with the Barca reserves but was rapidly promoted to the first-team squad for the 2021-22 season by former coach Ronald Koeman after impressing in pre-season.
Demir went on to make nine appearances in all competitions for Barca but then struggled for game time. Barcelona ended up benching the youngster because there is a clause in his contract that means Barca must sign him permanently for €10m if he makes 10 first-team appearances, as reported by Sky in Germany.
The club’s financial situation means that Barca have now decided to cut Demir’s loan rather than pay out the €10m. ESPN’s Samuel Marsden has noted how the youngster “showed some talent” but has “become another victim of poor management at Barca.”
More Exits to Come at Barcelona?
The transfer window does not close until the end of January 2021 which means there is still plenty more time for Barcelona to further tweak their squad and try to free up some more space on the wage bill.
Defenders Sergino Dest and Samuel Umtiti continue to be linked with a Camp Nou exit, particularly after Barcelona’s 3-2 defeat to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia.
Coach Xavi left both players in the stand for the match, not even including the duo on his list of substitutes, and “wanted to transmit” to both players they are not in his plans, as reported by Diario Sport.
Umtiti has recently renewed his contract at Barcelona until 2026, on a reduced salary which allowed Barca to register Ferran Torres, but could leave on loan in January. Dest is also surplus to requirements and Barca “will listen to offers” for the USMNT star.