Barcelona have been on the lookout for a new midfielder to succeed club captain Sergio Busquets whose contract expires at the end of the season.
The 34-year-old looks poised to move on as a free agent, with a move to the MLS seemingly on the cards, despite Xavi Hernandez’s intentions to keep him at the club for another year.
The Blaugrana are looking for the ideal replacement for Busquets and have landed on Martin Zubimendi of Real Sociedad as their top option. However, his €60 million release clause could become an issue for Barcelona.
Amidst this, a new name doing the rounds as a potential target for the Catalan giants is Boca Juniors’ starlet Alan Varela. The 21-year-old has been making waves in Argentina with his performances and has put several teams across Europe on high alert.
Barcelona, too, are believed to be keeping tabs on the young midfielder and are understood to have ‘excellent reports’ on him.
According to SPORT, the likes of Ajax and Benfica are also in the hunt for Varela’s signing and have even opened negotiations with Boca Juniors for his signing, which has alerted Barcelona.
The report suggests that former Barcelona star and Argentine icon Juan Roman Riquelme, who is also the vice-president of Boca Juniors, is of the belief that Varela can succeed at Camp Nou and is one of the main supporters of the young midfielder.
Manager Xavi Hernandez got a look at Varela when Barça played Boca Juniors in the Diego Maradona tribute match towards the end of last year, when the youngster was making inroads into the senior team.
While it was previously reported that Varela could be available for €15 million, the aforementioned report from SPORT states the 21-year-old would cost around €20 million, although it is specified that value would be negotiable.
While Riquelme might rate him highly and can see him do well at Barcelona, it remains to be seen whether the Blaugrana act on the interest, especially with Ajax and Benfica making their moves for Varela.