‘Barcelona’s Interest Is Real’: Coach Confirms Transfer Rumors

Unai Emery

Getty Unai Emery has spoken about Barca's interest in Juan Foyth.

Villarreal coach Unai Emery has confirmed speculation that Barcelona are interested in bringing right-back Juan Foyth to the club before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.

Emery was asked about the transfer rumors in an interview on Spanish radio and offered the following update, as reported by Mundo Deportivo.

“Barça’s interest is real. It’s a position they need and he fits them. The issue is whether the player wants it or not, he has always told me that he is very happy. He does not contemplate leaving and wants to stay,” he said. “From here, I don’t know to what extent circumstances will go one way or the other.”

Villarreal are thought to be unwilling to negotiate a fee for Foyth which means Barcelona would have to pay his €42m release clause if they are to bring him to the Camp Nou.

Such a move looks unlikely, particularly given Barca’s ongoing financial issues, although Emery was not completely ruling out a summer exit for Foyth.

“He’s an important player for us and he’s grown a lot in recent years,” he added. “I don’t rule out that at any given moment the surprise will be against us, but the most normal thing is that he stays at Villarreal.”

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Barcelona Warned Off Foyth

Barcelona have previously been warned off Foyth by Villarreal vice-president José Manuel Llaneza. The club chief told DAZN the Yellow Submarine are not interested in selling their defender.

“We don’t have to prepare ourselves, La Liga are prepared to accept the release clause but we are not in the business of selling any player, least of all Juan. There has been no need to do anything. It is a case similar to Lo Celso, he wants to play for Villarreal, he wants to be here,” he added. “Naturally, if an offer came from a big club, then I would have to study it, but I have just spoken with the representatives now and there is no issue that indicates that this could happen.”

Foyth signed for Villarreal from Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur in 2021 after a successful loan spell with the Liga side. He has a contract with the club that runs until 2026.

Xavi Talks Right-Backs

Xavi offered an update on the right-back situation at his pre-match press conference before Barca’s 4-1 win over Real Sociedad. The coach readily admitted he had hoped to sign Cesar Azpilicueta from Chelsea.

“We had a plan. We wanted to sign Azpilicueta. It was not possible, now we have to see other options,” he said. “We have players who can play there. Ronald is not a natural right-back but he can play there. We have Roberto, Kounde can play there as an emergency.”

Barca missed out on Azpilicueta after he signed a contract extension at Chelsea but do look in the market for a new defender. Xavi has left Sergino Dest out of his first two matchday squads, which suggests he is not in the coach’s plans, while Sergi Roberto has only featured as a substitute.

READ NEXT: ‘I Want Him on My Team:’ Xavi Sends Strong Message to Barcelona

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