Ex-Barcelona Chief Reveals 3 Players Club Came ‘Close’ To Signing

Dusan Vlahovic

Getty Dusan Vlahovic celebrate scoring for former club Fiorentina.

Former Barcelona technical secretary Ramon Planes has opened up on the Catalan giants’s recent transfer activities and named three players who came very close to moving to the Camp Nou.

Planes, who left his role at Barca in November 2021, told Gianluca di Marzio that Barca nearly brought in striker Dusan Vlahovic, before his €75 million move to Juventus in the January transfer window, as well as Italy midfielder Manuel Locatelli, as reported by Diario Sport.

“Dusan Vlahovic is very good. Two years ago we thought about a loan, we were interested in that but it was not possible,” he said. “Manuel Locatelli is a player with Barcelona’s style, very good and he had a big breakout at Sassuolo. We were close but Juventus is a strong rival, they are attractive for Italian players and in the end he decided to go to Juve.”

Planes also discussed Inter striker Lautaro Martinez, who was heavily linked with a move to Barcelona throughout the 2019-20 campaign. He added, “Lautaro was very close to Barca. The negotiations had started before Covid. We had many meetings with his agents and Inter directors, with whom we had an excellent relationship. Then came the pandemic and things changed.”

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Financial Problems Ruined Lautaro Move.

Martinez has already admitted that he nearly signed for Barcelona and had even spoken to Argentina international team-mate Lionel Messi about the possibility of heading to the Camp Nou.

The striker told ESPN Argentina that the Catalan giants’s financial problems ensured that he ended up staying at the San Siro instead, as reported by Marca.

“I was really close to Barcelona,” he said. “I had discussed with with Lionel Messi, but they had financial problems and I decided to stay.”

Martinez ended up playing a key role in Inter’s Serie A title-winning season in 2020-21, forming a prolific partnership with Romelu Lukaku. The striker scored 17 goals and contributed six assists in 38 league games for the Nerazzurri.

Planes Tips Roberto De Zerbi To Be Future Boss

Planes also spoke about potential Barcelona managerial targets. Planes says that Barcelona have spoken to Roberto De Zerbi in the past and he could come into contention in the future again, as reported by Football Italia.

“His style is suitable for Barcelona, he is similar to Guardiola,” he said. “It’s something that a coach must have to coach a team like Barcelona. We spoke to him in the past and I think that in the future, Barcelona will think about him again.”

De Zerbi impressed during his three years in charge of Sassuolo in Serie A. The former midfielder’s team played exciting, attacking football and twice finished eighth in Serie A, a strong achievement for such a small club.

The coach subsequently moved on to Ukrainian Premier League club Shakhtar Donetsk who are currently top of the table after 18 games, two points clear of nearest challengers Dynamo Kiev.

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