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Deco hints at Barcelona plan for Vitor Roque in January transfer window

Sporting director Deco has revealed Barcelona’s plans for Brazilian youngster Vitor Roque during the January transfer window.

A deal worth up to £52m was agreed with Athletico Paranaense for the Brazilian forward in the summer and his agent Andre Cury claimed last month that the plan was to bring him in officially during the winter window.

However, Barca vice-president Eduard Romeu also admitted the club still have to navigate potential player registration issues.

The possibility of Roque being signed as a replacement for the injured Gavi has been floated – La Liga rules allow clubs to bring in another player worth up to 80% of the Spaniard’s wages – and Deco confirmed the Catalan side intend to complete their Roque swoop in January.

After Saturday night’s 1-1 draw with Rayo Vallecano, he said: “Xavi and I are coordinated over our plans. We’re not going to replace Gavi, because there is no other player like him on the market, and certainly not in January.

“We’ll see what positions we need to strengthen in. We will surely opt for Vitor Roque, but nothing has been decided yet.”

Xavi Hernandez head coach

Xavi’s Barcelona were held to a 1-1 draw at Rayo Vallecano / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Roque played in his first match for Athletico Paranaense since September on Saturday after recovering from an ankle injury, appearing in the goalless draw with Vasco de Gama in the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A.

The 18-year-old has still produced 11 goals and three assists in 23 league matches and his January arrival would help a Barca attack yet to click into gear so far in 2023/24.

The 1-1 draw with Rayo Vallecano was only salvaged late on by a Florian Lejeune own goal, while the defeat at Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League before the November international break saw Xavi’s side register only one shot on target.

Robert Lewandowski did recently end a lengthy goal drought by bagging twice against Alaves, but the Poland international couldn’t find the back of the net on Saturday, being largely devoid of quality service.


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