Barcelona defender Clement Lenglet has reportedly refused to leave the club as part of a swap deal that would have seen the defender join Serie A side Roma with midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini heading the other way.
The France international is said to have “no intention of entering into any operation” and his “only intention is to continue at Barcelona,” according to Roger Torello at Mundo Deportivo.
Pellegrini is a player who has been linked with Barcelona since the Catalans missed out on Georginio Wijnaldum. The Dutch midfielder has joined Paris Saint-Germain on a three-year deal.
Roma could sell Pellegrini this summer as he is out of contract in 2022. The Italy international has a release clause set at €30 million and has also attracted interest from Liverpool and Atletico Madrid, according to Fernando Polo at Mundo Deportivo.
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Lenglet Determined To Stay At Barcelona
Speculation over Lenglet’s future does not come as a surprise as the center-back endured a tough 2020-21 campaign with Barcelona. The 25-year-old struggled for form and was part of a backline that looked vulnerable throughout the campaign.
Barca has already moved to bring in center-back Eric Garcia from Manchester City on a free transfer, which will increase competition for places in defense, and may also add another defender if finances allow.
Players such as Sevilla’s Jules Kounde, Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte, and Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt have all been rumored to be wanted by the Catalan giants this summer.
Lenglet signed a new contract in October 2020 that runs until 2026 and spoke about his future at the club after the end of the 2020-21 campaign in an interview with Eurosport. He said, “I can’t see myself leaving. I signed a new contract last season. I will be at Barça next season.”
Pique Takes Pay-Cut To Stay?
The Frenchman is not the only defender facing an uncertain future at Barca. Samuel Umtiti is also available for sale but the club has reportedly received “hardly any offers” for the World Cup winner.
Gerard Pique does look like staying on but could “restructure” his contract, as reported by Marca. The center-back missed large chunks of last season with a knee injury but “hopes to become a key player for the Blaugrana once again” in 2021-22.
Coach Ronald Koeman has some tough decisions to make over how his defense will shape up next season following the arrival of Garcia. The Dutchman also has youngsters Ronald Arauajo and Oscar Mingueza available who both shone in 2020-21.
Barca finished last season using a system of three center-backs which brought initial success, including victory in the Copa del Rey, but looked vulnerable once again in the final weeks of the campaign as the team’s title hopes faded after some poor results.
Garcia will be hoping for regular football after leaving the Premier League champions and returning to Barca, while Araujo will also be pushing hard for a place in the starting XI after some strong performances last season.
Both players will be in international action over the summer. Araujo has been called into the Uruguay squad for the Copa America, while Garcia is with the Spain squad for the 2020 European Championship. Lenglet is also away with the France squad for the Euros but faces a real battle for playing time due to the quality of Didier Deschamps’s squad.