Conte hints at changes for Tottenham's FA Cup tie with Morecambe
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Tottenham Hotspur transfer target Adama Traore is surprisingly being considered for a return to Barcelona, according to reports. The Wolverhampton striker was developed and nurtured in the Catalans’ infamous La Masia youth system, but only made four senior appearances before he was flogged to Aston Villa.
After a frustrating spell at Villa Park and Middlesbrough, Traore has bolstered his reputation at Wolves with his ferocious speed, incredible dribbling skills, and ability to drive his team up the pitch almost single handedly.
While his end product has departed him this season, the Spanish international is still attracting plenty of interest from the Premier League and Europe.
Former Tottenham manager Nuno Espirito-Santo wanted to sign his former player last summer, while Antonio Conte is also said to be a huge admirer of the dynamic forward.
However, reports from SPORT claim Xavi’s side could make a move for the Wolves star if Ousmane Dembele departs the club.
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Barcelona have an excellent relationship with super-agent Jorge Mendes, who has played a key role in facilitating many of Wolves transfer dealings since 2016.
The productive synergy between Mendes and the Catalans enabled the Premier League side to quickly wrap up deals for Nelson Semedo and Franciso Trincao from the La Liga giants over the last couple of seasons.
And the Midlanders could be set to return the favour with Traore, who would reportedly be very keen on a return to his boyhood club.
Traore is believed to have kept in contact with Barcelona stars Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Sergi Roberto, and £55m signing Ferran Torres.
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Traore’s preference of playing on the right-hand side means he would almost be a like-for-like replacement for Dembele.
The Frenchman’s days at the Nou Camp appear to be numbered, with his contract at the club set to expire at the end of the season.
Further reports from Spanish outlet SPORT claimed the striker’s agent rejected a new contract offer from the club just before the New Year.
And with negotiations appearing to have fallen flat between the two parties, Dembele’s time at the Nou Camp is heading towards a free transfer elsewhere.
The World Cup winner is now free to negotiate pre-contract agreements with aspiring clubs and has been linked with a wide variety or teams from the Premier League and in Europe.
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Determined to try and bring down the curtain on the £126m man’s transfer saga with the club, Xavi sent a firm message to the 24-year-old at the start of the new year.
“I spoke to Ousmane Dembele, naturally, telling him that he is an important player for us and that we need him, that he is an important future player for the club. I can only speak to him from a sporting point of view,” Xavi said before his side’s 1-0 away victory against Mallorca.
“I believe that Dembele will not be happier in another place. I convey to him that Barcelona is the best club in the world and I present him with a sports project that must outweigh the economic one.
“We, the club, have a very clear position and I keep waiting for Dembele to make a gesture. I hope that the positions will come closer.
“He is a capable player who can help us a lot. We need him and he must know that this is a great opportunity for him that he cannot miss.”
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