Transfer Rumours: Nsoki to Newcastle, Watkins to Palace, Darmian to Barcelona and More

You wouldn’t be able to tell from the swathes of speculation flying around on the internet, but it has been a relatively quiet transfer window so far (in England, at least).

Still, there is plenty of time yet for some deals to materialise before the competitive action gets underway in the next few weeks. We have no idea who’s going where, but we’ve compiled some of Monday’s best guesses right here for your perusal. 


Ryan Kent ‘Nearing’ Liverpool Exit 

Ryan Kent

Jurgen Klopp admitting that Ryan Kent will be sold rather than loaned out this summer? Good story. The player being left out of the ?Liverpool squad for the most recent leg of pre-season? Maybe something in it. But all of this comes as secondary to the real story, the one people are champing at the bit to hear…what does his social media tell us? 

The short of it is that various outlets, such as ?the72.co.uk, have run with stories sourcing the Daily Record in claiming that Kent, who tore up the SPFL Premiership on loan at Rangers last season, is ‘destined to leave Anfield’ after an indifferent pre-season. 

It seems reasonable on the face of it, until you read beyond the headline and realise that the entire 300-word story is predicated on one three-line entry in the Record transfer blog outlining that Kent has…pause for effect…unfollowed Liverpool’s official Twitter. 


Neil Warnock Opens Door to Etheridge Departure

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Now for something a bit more clear-cut, ?Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock has opened the door to a summer exit for keeper Neil Etheridge, amid speculation that Aston Villa are interested in the 29-year-old. 

Many expected the impressive shot-stopper to remain in the Premier League after the Bluebirds were relegated, with European champions Liverpool linked earlier in the window. Despite this, the Cardiff boss confirms no offers have arrived yet – but the club would listen to ‘any’ bid should it come in. 

“As I’ve said before, we’ll listen to anything,” he said (as quoted by ?Wales Online) when asked what the club’s stance would be on an incoming offer?“I’ve not heard anything and I don’t think Neil has.”


Newcastle in Talks Over PSG Defender

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It’s been a patchy summer at ?Newcastle, to put it lightly. They may have splashed out on a club record transfer for the second window running, but they also lost their two most potent attackers and replaced arguably the best manager outside of the top six with a man not one supporter is happy with. 

Still, you have to take the good with the bad, and what looks very good for the Magpies is that they are being linked pretty heavily with PSG left-back Stanley Nsoki, with the ?Chronicle telling us that they are in negotiations with the French side over a move for the 20-year-old.

The Ligue 1 champions value the defender at around  £13m, and Newcastle have so far been reluctant to pay that much, but it is believed that the player is keen on a move if an agreement can be reached. 


Rennes ‘Expect’ Ismaila Sarr to Join Watford

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Watford have had a quiet window by Premier League standards, with just three arrivals totalling a collective £8m so far, but that could all be about to change soon, as reports claim that Stade Rennais have conceded that Ismaila Sarr will leave for the Premier League side this summer. 

This one comes from the usually-credible ?Watford Observer, who say that the long-running negotiations between the two clubs are finally nearing their end, with the clubs ‘close’ to coming to an agreement – although they do note that it could drag on until the closure of the Premier League window next Thursday. 

The driving point of the piece seems to be that Rennes manager Julien Stephan has resigned to the player leaving, with Watford the only side showing a genuine interest over a deal worth somewhere in the region of €30m. 


Palace Eye Ollie Watkins in Player-Plus-Cash Deal

Stuart Dallas,Ollie Watkins

No bonus points to anyone who can tell us what the big story surrounding ?Crystal Palace is at the minute, but in case you’ve been living on Mars for the past few weeks, then it’s the spectacle involving Wilfried Zaha, who has been subject to bids from Arsenal and Everton. 

There is plenty of business at the club to be getting on with outside of that, however. One that has come to light on Monday, in fact, might well involve a potential heir-apparent to the Ivorian, as the ?Mail say that Palace are prepared to offer cash plus forgotten striker Alexander Sorloth for Brentford winger Ollie Watkins. 

The 23-year-old enjoyed a stellar season for the Bees last term, netting 12 goals. Sorloth, meanwhile, has scored just once in his 20 appearances for Palace. 


Matteo Darmian Linked With Barcelona

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Yeah, you’re reading that right. We’ve saved the best for last here.

Matteo Darmian is well and truly in the cold at Manchester United, but if ?ESPN are to be believed, then he is being lined up as a potential alternative to Junior Firpo, as ?Barcelona seek out a new signing to offer cover for Jordi Alba. 

The 29-year-old joined United from Torino for £16m back in 2015, but his role has drastically diminished in recent seasons, and he managed just seven appearances last term – the last of which coming against Manchester City in April. 

Phillip Max and David Alaba are both preferred options as things stand, so it does seem as if he is seen as something of a last resort for Barca. But still. Come on. 


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Carles Perez: 6 Things to Know About Barcelona’s Newest La Masia Star

?After smashing in two very well-taken goals against Barcelona’s new Japanese mates Vissel Kobe on Saturday, Carles Perez has thrust himself into the limelight after outperforming Barcelona’s usual stars and new signings. 

In the 2-0 win, Perez grabbed both goals, lighting up a fairly drab game against a Kobe team featuring ex-Barca players Andres Iniesta, Sergi Samper and David Villa. 

Given the Catalan club’s constant supply of talent, and their revolutionary La Masia academy producing some of the worlds finest technical players over the years, could the young winger be the next on that list? 

Only time will tell if Perez will be competing with Messi and co at the top of the Barca attack next season, but here we take a look at the player to see what else there is to know about the 21-year-old.


He Is Often Compared to Arjen Robben

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Well there you go. There probably isn’t a comparison in football that can tell you as much about a player as a comparison with Robben does. Fast, direct, left-footed, plays on the right, likes to shoot. 

Perez often does play on the right and is certainly direct. A within-Barcelona comparison has been with ex-player Pedro, which certainly makes sense too. Perez is a direct runner who looks at hitting the goal at the soonest opportunity. He wastes no time in driving towards it by any route, as was so evident against Kobe, while the rest of the team played at a much slower pace. 

Despite being predominantly right-sided, Perez played on the left against Kobe with both goals coming from the left side of the box.


He Won’t Be Leaving Barcelona Any Time Soon

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Given the way that Perez celebrated the two goals he scored on Saturday, you could see how much it all meant to him. 

Speaking after the match (via ?Sport) he said: “It’s clear in my mind that I want to stay here. It’s about being patient, not changing everything and leaving at the first chance.

“Since I was a child I’ve been a Barca fan and I want to be part of the first team here.” 

He has also spoke publicly about how proud he was after his first-team debut in May, and reiterated that his hard work is for to play for Barcelona, not another club.


He Is Not One of Ernesto Valverde’s ‘Chosen’ Five

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Following Valverde’s contract extension with Barca in February, the club were reportedly concerned with the lack of promotion of La Masia players. Following these discussions Valverde is said to have ‘listed’ five players who he would aim to give more playtime with the first team in future. 

Among the list were Riqui Puig, Moussa Wague, Oriol Busquets, Miranda and Abel Ruiz, as per ?Sport.

After appearing twice in preseason it is possible Valverde has changed his opinion regarding Perez. Two impressive goals will certainly help his case. And at 21 years old, it is certainly this time in his career where the first team will be most in reach.


He Has Currently Taken No. 7 at the Club

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There may be little to read into this, but as the quick thinkers of you will have noticed, the number seven is normally worn by Philippe Coutinho. 

In the loss to Chelsea last Tuesday and the match on Saturday, Perez was seen wearing the number seven in Coutinho’s absence. Papers, websites and every man and his dog have been focusing on the Coutinho side of this, suggesting the Brazilian could be out the exit door, yet for Perez this would be a good indicator for him as the one to 11 numbers are normally reserved for the club’s biggest players. 

Perez is obviously a fan of the number, featuring in his Instagram name and with many of the player’s photos featuring it too.


Barcelona B Team’s Top Goalscorer

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Last season Perez finished as the club’s B team’s top scorer, despite most often playing out wide.

Netting nine goals in 26 appearances, this was two more than any other payer in the team. 

After winning the UEFA Youth League (the Youth Teams’ Champions League) in 2018, he finished that competition with a particularly impressive seven goals in nine appearances too. As the teams that feature are under-19 teams, Perez did not appear in this years edition. Yet he is one of the top appearance makers and goal scorers over his time in the tournament. 

Finishing as Barcelona B’s top scorer is not a bad string to add to your bow, and certainly shows promise.


He Has a €100m Release Clause


After signing a contract extension in June 2018 for a further two years, Barcelona opted to add a €100m release clause to his contract. We have seen the club do this with other current academy players so it is not completely new, however with a value set at €100m at such a young age, it does show a great deal of confidence in the player. 

Here’s seeing that at 21 years old whether he can make his mark in the first team in the coming months.


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Malcom: Arsenal, Everton & Dortmund All Linked as Barcelona Look to Sell Attacker

?Barcelona winger Malcom is understood to be surplus to requirements at the Catalan club with Premier League duo Arsenal and Everton keen as well as Bundesliga runners-up Dortmund. 

After a difficult first season at Camp Nou and following the arrival of striker Antoine Griezmann (and the potential re-arrival of Neymar), it is thought that Malcom would play an even less prominent role for Barça in 2019/20. 

Malcom aired his desire for more game time at the end of last season, noting that he would be willing to move clubs to ensure that his needs are met. 

Malcom

A report from ?Mundo Deportivo claims that the Catalan side value Malcom at around €50m, as they look to raise funds for a possible Neymar move, despite paying just over €40m to sign the star from Bordeaux a year ago. 

It is thought that both ?Everton and German side ?Borussia Dortmund are willing to match ?Barcelona’s evaluation of the winger, although the former’s first choice wing target ?appears to be £60m-rated Wilfried Zaha.

The article also suggests that ?Arsenal could be in for the player but most ?reports claim that the Gunners have reached an agreement for Lille winger Nicolas Pepe, making a move for Malcom too very unlikely. 

It is also thought that Napoli have expressed interested in the Brazilian after running into difficulty in their pursuit of Bayern Munich’s J?ames Rodriguez. 

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As the English transfer market closes in just under two weeks time on the 8 August, sides such as Everton and Arsenal will have to move with speed to ensure that a deal can be wrapped up before its too late. 

If a deal cannot be met before then, other European teams have until 2 September to strike an agreement with Barcelona. 

In his debut season for the Spanish side, Malcom made just 24 appearances where he scored only four goals. 

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Barcelona: 6 Blaugrana Youngsters Who Deserve a Shot at the First Team in 2019/20

?Barcelona are a club synonymous with the talent they produce from within. No academy in the world is more fabled than La Masia which has produced some of the best footballers ever seen in the sport from Lionel Messi to Xavi Hernandez to Gerard Pique.

However, with big-money signings the order of the summer (and with the possibility of even more if Neymar’s move materialises) there seems to be dwindling places in the first team for young players to break into in recent years. 

Here are six young players who are desperate to make that final push into the first team despite the competition for places.


Carles Aleñá

Carles Alena,Luis Suarez

Now this may be a bit cheeky to include Alena here as he made 33 appearances for Barcelona last season. However, when looking at the time played it only totals to around six matches full matches.

Alena is now a regular in the first-team squad and trains with the stars so there is obviously faith from the club there. As he nears his 22nd birthday though, it is only another year or so remaining before he won’t be considered a prospect anymore. 

The midfielder is supremely talented and waltzes around the field like ex-Barça man Thiago does at Bayern Munich. 

Here’s hoping the classy young man can still get his chance despite Frenkie de Jong nicking his number 21 shirt.


Moussa Wagué

Moussa Wague

One of the stars of the 2018 World Cup (regardless of age) was Moussa Wagué. As a skilful and athletic threat down the right wing for Senegal, Barcelona decided to snap him up a month after the tournament. 

After signing, Wague went straight into Barça B and later made his full debut for the first team in April. By the end of the season he’d made three appearances, so Valverde obviously has faith in his abilities. 

Given the issues Barcelona have had at right back since Dani Alves departure in 2016, Wague breaking into the starting 11 seems completely plausible option. After the club thought Sergi Roberto was their Lord Savior for a season, they have been less than convinced by the Spaniard and Nelson Semedo. If Wague takes his chance, he could be at the club for years.


Mike van Beijnen


With all that’s just been said about Moussa Wague, much the same can be said for van Beijnin. Only signed this summer, the right back already has a €100m release clause inserted in his contract. 

The Dutchman has arrived as a free agent from NAC Breda and seems to have got attention from his move to Barcelona after his high release clause and (more likely) because he is the stepson of Frankie de Jong’s agent. 

Regardless, at 20 he is of the age in which players start looking ahead to the first team and van Beijnen will be no different.


Riqui Puig

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Puig is the diamond of the current Barcelona B team.

The 19-year-old midfielder made his debut at the tail end of last season and more recently played in the pre-season loss to Chelsea, impressing with typically exquisite awareness and intricate passing play. 

Given the reputation Puig has it will be interesting to see if he is accelerated ahead of Alena in moving towards the starting lineup.


Oriol Busquets

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No relation to Sergio Busquets, yet Oriol does play in the same position as his namesake and is equally tall and languid. 

Like all deeper-lying midfielders Barcelona produce, Busquets is tactically and technically gifted with a good eye for moving the ball between the lines and for getting it back with sound positioning. 

As there is less competition for places in the holding role for Barça, Busquets may see himself getting more minutes as the most natural replacement for Sergio. 


Miranda

Miranda

Fans have speculated for some time where left back Jordi Alba’s eventual successor will come from.

Many believed that Marc Cucurella was the future heir for the number three position. However, Cucurella has left to join Getafe this summer, leaving options limited at left back. That is except for Miranda. 

Miranda is tall and more defensively solid than Cucurella. As you might expect, he is also a very attacking player, like all Barcelona full backs and has the skill to play the position well. An injury to Alba could well see Miranda picking up minutes in La Liga next year.

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Frenkie de Jong: Why the Barcelona Midfielder Is the Biggest Bargain of the Summer

?On first viewing, Frenkie de Jong joining Barcelona from Ajax may not seem like a particularly brilliant piece of business from the Catalans. 

They have spent £67.5m to bring the midfielder to Spain this summer. Hardly an astronomical fee by modern standards in football, but it is still a hefty sum of money for a 22-year-old with just seven international caps to his name. The fact that he has only scored six senior goals will also have raised a few eyebrows.

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Yet there is something special about de Jong. We’ve established that he is not a goal-scoring midfielder, and he is not particularly quick or powerful on the ball. Instead, it is his speed of mind that sets him apart. 

Ajax enjoyed a fine season last year, winning a domestic double and making the semi-finals of the Champions League. At the heart of their impressive displays was one man: de Jong. The Dutch international dictates the play from the base of the midfield, always providing himself as an option to pick the ball up from his defence so that he can start the side’s next move.

In case you missed his exploits with Ajax, de Jong’s full repertoire of skills were on show when the Netherlands dispatched England 3-1 in the Nations League semi-finals in June. The youngster grew more and more influential as the game went on, playing a pivotal role as his team overturned a half-time deficit to secure their place in the final.

??Still not convinced? Well, let’s take a look at where Barcelona have struggled in recent years. Under Pep Guardiola, the team monopolised possession, with Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets dominating the midfield area. It was difficult for the opposition to get the ball back, let alone score a goal.

That is no longer the case though. Xavi and Iniesta have departed, and Busquets is now 31 and has seen his impact on the team wane in recent times.

Barcelona are now a team that relies on moments in matches, rather than building and sustaining pressure. They look to Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez to produce the goods in tight games.

That was clear for all to see in last season’s Champions League semi-final tie against Liverpool. In the first leg, Suarez and Messi delivered, handing Barcelona a 3-0 advantage to take to Anfield. The game had been a nip-and-tuck affair, with the hosts unable to control proceedings for long periods, but Messi and Suarez papered over the cracks. They would not be able to do so again in the second leg.

Lionel Messi

Barcelona were completely outclassed in the return fixture as Liverpool won 4-0 to advance to the final, with the midfield trio of Busquets, Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal being overrun by their Liverpool counterparts. On a frenetic night on Merseyside, Barcelona could not cope and did not have a player who could put his foot on the ball and keep possession.

This is where de Jong will make his mark. Last season, he showed that there are not many players better at keeping the ball. His ability to float around the midfield, ensuring that he is available to give or receive the ball at any point is an attribute that will serve Barcelona well moving forwards.

Sometimes it may not seem that he is doing that much. Simple ten-yard passes can be taken for granted. Yet he is constantly assessing the bigger picture. With each short pass he is manoeuvring the opposition, ready to make the more ambitious pass when it presents itself. In this fast-paced game of chess, de Jong remains two moves ahead at all times. 


Without a Champions League triumph since 2015, Barcelona needed to re-think their strategy, and they have done just that by bringing in de Jong. They will hope that a return towards the style of play that served them so well under Guardiola could lead to similar results moving forwards.

Expect de Jong to play a big part in Barcelona’s change in approach, and at just 22 he has years ahead of him to make his presence felt.

Suddenly, £67.5m doesn’t seem that much at all.

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Dani Alves Takes to Instagram to Find New Club as He Pushes for Barcelona Return Alongside Neymar

?Dani Alves took to Instagram to offer himself to any interested clubs, but he still has his heart set on a return to Barcelona alongside Neymar.

The 36-year-old has been the subject of plenty of interest after his contract with Paris Saint-Germain came to an end, although he is yet to agree a move to a new side.


In his latest ?Instagram post, ?Alves jokingly asked his fans where he should send his CV to, and there were certainly some intriguing responses. The likes of ?Neymar and ?Douglas Costa replied, whilst his partner, Joana Sanz, even suggested he should join La Liga 2 side CD Tenerife. 

Could Sanz have revealed Alves’ next move? Almost certainly not.

?Mundo Deportivo state that Alves still has his heart set on a return to ?Barcelona, and he is prepared to play the waiting game in the hope that a number of factors will work in his favour.

Dani Alves

The veteran right-back called Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu to ?try and arrange a move back to Camp Nou but was told that club officials did not want to pursue a move for him at this time. However, Alves has not given up.

He hopes that Barcelona will manage to complete the blockbuster signing of close friend Neymar, which could give him one foot in the door at Camp Nou. PSG are also believed to be keen on ?Nelson Semedo as a replacement for Alves, and his departure would leave an Alves-sized hole in Barcelona’s squad.

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Given Barcelona have already spent heavily this summer on Antoine Griezmann, the fact that Alves is available for free could work in his favour, so he is now simply waiting to see the next move in the lengthy Neymar saga.

He is said to have received offers from ?Inter, ?Juventus and ?Manchester City, but Alves is reluctant to accept anything at the minute as he is only focused on heading back to Barcelona.

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Ernesto Valverde Praises Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong After Vissel Kobe Victory in Japan

?Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde praised new summer signings Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong following his side’s 2-0 friendly victory over Vissel Kobe on Saturday.

Los Cules rounded off their summer tour of Japan with a comfortable win over the J1 League side at the Misaki Park Stadium, where they came up against a familiar face in club legend Andres Iniesta.

Young winger Carles Perez may have scored twice, but Valverde also found time to praise a few of Barcelona’s new recruits. Speaking as quoted by Sport after the match, 55-year-old Valverde was clearly impressed by what he saw from De Jong.

He said: “Today he played in a different position to the other day. He played more as an interior and Sergi Roberto as the holding player. 

“We have the chance now to test him in both positions. He’s really good on the ball and he arrives into some good positions further forward. We’re lucky he can play in both roles. We’ll keep an eye on it. We can rotate him between the positions, he offers a lot of solutions.”

The former Athletic Club manager was similarly impressed by Griezmann’s efforts, adding: “The good players always understand things easily. We’ll see later on how well he links up with others. We have a lot of hope with him and that it’ll work. He moves quickly and finds space really well. He’s a player we needed.”

?Barcelona fans will be encouraged by their manager’s comments ahead of the new La Liga campaign, as they look to bounce back from their Champions League disappointment of last season.

The reigning La Liga champions have enjoyed a productive transfer window with prolific French forward Griezmann and highly rated Dutch midfielder De Jong arriving from Atletico Madrid and Ajax respectively. 

The Catalan giants will be hoping their new recruits can continue to impress in pre-season, with ?Arsenal and ?Napoli still to play before La Liga action returns in August 

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Barcelona and Vissel Kobe Announce Partnership for 2019/20 Season After Rakuten Cup Clash

Barcelona and Japanese club Vissel Kobe have announced they have partnered up ahead of the 2019/20 season with an agreement that will see the teams ‘share knowledge and collaborate on a business level’.

The announcement comes in the aftermath of ?Barça’s 2-0 win over Vissel in the Rakuten Cup, a pre-season tournament being held in Japan.

Young forward Carles Perez scored the goals on the field, but it’s this deal that will live long in the memory, particularly for Vissel – who already have three former Barça players on their books in Andres Iniesta, David Villa and Sergi Samper.

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A statement confirming the link up on Barça’s official website read: “The Catalan club and the Japanese team, which plays in the J1 League, wish to take advantage of synergies to share knowledge both on a technical level, such as staff training and work systems, and in other areas of their clubs, such as marketing and commercial aspects.

“In addition, both clubs would like to explore joint interests on a business level. Thanks to this agreement, both clubs will have the chance to send young players from one to the other, in order to test their level in other environments and to give them the opportunity to develop their expertise.

“Furthermore, both clubs will share reports, as well as players and team analysis. Particularly, FC Barcelona will help Vissel Kobe with scouting players worldwide, and Vissel Kobe will share its knowledge of Asian youth markets with Barça.

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“This partnership will further deepen the relationship between FC Barcelona and Vissel Kobe. The Japanese club currently features three players who have been part of the Barça family, namely Andrés Iniesta, David Villa and Sergi Samper.”

The two clubs have been linked prior to today’s announcement, with Rakuten Inc – who own the Japanese club – the principal shirt sponsor of Barcelona since 2017.

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Vissel Kobe 0-2 Barcelona: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Carles Perez Shines to Lift Rakuten Cup

?Barcelona secured a 2-0 win against Vissel Kobe on Saturday to lift the Rakuten Cup in their last pre-season match in Japan.

Three former Barcelona players were in action for Vissel Kobe and it was Andrés Iniesta who came closest to breaking the deadlock when a long-range effort flew past Marc-André ter Stegen’s far post, while Riqui Puig wasted a golden chance for the visitors at the other end of the pitch.

Iniesta came close once again in the latter stages of the first half, while goalkeeper Daiya Maekawa was forced into a good save to deny Ivan Rakiti? a late goal, but in the end, an overall lethargic first-half came to a close with both sides still on level terms.

Substitute Ousmane Dembélé offered an exciting spark to Barcelona’s attack in the second half and it looked like the Frenchman could provide the difference, but it was actually academy graduate Carles Pérez who opened the scoring after some neat link-up play with Malcom. 

Carles Aleñá could have put the game to bed but tried to be too cute with his dinked effort and it was easily clawed away by Maekawa, while Malcom wasn’t cute enough when he went for power over placement only to be denied by the crossbar.

Pérez then scored his second of the game with just a few minutes left on the clock, firing the ball in off the post from an acute angle to wrap up the win and secure the Rakuten Cup against Vissel Kobe.


Vissel Kobe

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Maekawa (7); Fujitani (6), Dankler (7), Miya (6), Hatsuse (7); Yamaguchi (6), Samper (5), Iniesta (8); Goke (6), Villa (6), Ogawa (6).

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Substitutes: Nishi (6), Wellington (6), Watanabe (6), Osaki (6), Hashimoto (6), Masuyama (6), Nakasaka (6), Yasui (6), Tanaka (6).


Barcelona

Key Talking Point

It felt like nothing more than a glorified training exercise throughout the first half, with Barcelona’s attack only lacking any real cutting edge against Vissel Kobe’s defence.

But the introduction of Malcom, Ousmane Dembélé and crucially Carles Pérez turned the game on its head, even though goals still hardly went flying in for the Blaugrana.

Ditching a first-half line-up that consisted almost exclusively of attacking midfielders being used out wide – Álex Collado and Rafinha were their makeshift wingers – Barcelona offered a much more consistent threat after the break.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Ter Stegen (6); Semedo (7), Araujo (6), Lenglet (6), Alba (6); Puig (7), Busquets (6), Rakitic (7); Rafinha (6), Griezmann (7), Collado (7).

Substitutes: Perez (9*), Dembele (8), Malcom (7), Roberto (7), Umtiti (6), Todibo (7), Jaime (6), Alena (7), de Jong (8), Monchu (6), Neto (6).


Star Man – Carles Pérez

It could have been any of Barcelona’s front three during the second half, as both Malcom and Ousmane Dembélé caused Vissel Kobe countless problems after the break.

But it was Carles Pérez’s stunning strike which ultimately proved to be the difference for Ernesto Valverde’s side, popping up with a bit of individual quality while the rest of his teammates just weren’t getting the rub of the green in front of goal.

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He’s only ever made one senior appearance for Barcelona throughout his career, but the 21-year-old could certainly leave his mark on the first-team this season if he continues to perform at the level he showed in Japan.


Looking Ahead 

Barcelona still have pre-season matches against Arsenal and Napoli just around the corner before they kick-off their La Liga campaign against Athletic Club on August 16.

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Neymar Move to Barcelona Increasingly Unlikely With PSG Unwilling to Budge on Valuation

?A new report from France suggests that Neymar’s immediate future looks more likely to be at Paris Saint-Germain, as the French club refuse to budge on their demands.

Neymar has made it abundantly clear this summer that he wants out of the Ligue 1 side, after failing to achieve the targets he set himself when he made his world-record move to the French Champions from La Blaugrana in 2017.


Meetings with sporting director Leonardo have acted as the foundation from which he’s expressed his desire to return to ?La Liga, with the French club’s hierarchy open to selling the forward if their demands are met.

However, despite ?Barcelona’s best efforts to avoid dishing out a similar fee to what they received by offering player-plus-cash deals, the French side are adamant they want to recuperate near the £200m they paid for the Brazilian.

That’s according to L’Equipe, via ?Mundo Deportivo, who also claim PSG weren’t interested in Barça’s previous offer of Ivan Rakitic, Philippe Coutinho and 40m – with cash the deciding factor in any deal.

With that in mind, it also rules out a potential swap deal involving Gareth Bale, to see ?Neymar move to Real Madrid, although any such suggestions that this was a possibility in the first place are farfetched, to say the least.

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Instead, the French publication state the most likely outcome by the end of the window is that Neymar will remain with the Ligue 1 giants. 

Leonardo would both be willing to see the player leave. However, if no substantial cash offers come in then he expects the 27-year-old to knuckle down and work for the team in a professional manner.

Earlier this month, a report suggested PSG chairman Al-Khelaifi was ?’threatening’ Neymar with solo training sessions and no football until 2022, in an attempt to curb the star’ attitude issues amid the transfer saga.

Let’