Much-heralded Barcelona midfielder Sergi Roberto’s continued travails in trying to break into the first team have led to suggestions he will follow fellow academy product Thiago Alcantara out of Camp Nou, with long-term admirers Tottenham and Liverpool thought to be among the interested parties.
Liverpool in particular are still keen to add to their attacking squad depth as they bid to grasp the nettle of Champions League football with a top-four Premier League finish.
The bwin betting has Brendan Rodgers’ side slightly the more fancied of the pair to achieve that objective at 5/4.
Roberto was considered a rising star by Josep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova.
An ultra-versatile midfielder who was also top scorer as a striker in Barcelona’s Under-19 side, the Tarragona native has been one of the more hyped products of the La Masia academy in recent years.
Guardiola was known to be a huge admirer of player whose work-rate, strength and aerial ability married English box-to-box virtues with Spanish technique.
After Roberto shone when given the full 90 minutes to impress in last year’s 3-0 Copa del Rey victory over Alaves by Vilanova Guardiola’s former right hand man suggested “it’s good to know that Barca have a player for the long term.”
The Spanish Under-21 international has yet to play more than nine minutes of a La Liga match this season.
Only a year younger than fellow La Masia graduate Alcantara, Roberto has played 25 less times for the first team in La Liga than the now Bayern Munich man had at the commensurate stage of his career.
Opportunities under Gerardo Martino have thus far been frustratingly slight, especially given the midfielder is understood to have been agitating for a move in the summer due to his lack of immediate first team prospects.
Thiago’s cut price move to Bayern Munich offers his English suitors hope of snapping him up at a reasonable price.
There is little doubt that, as with Roberto, Los Blaugrana didn’t wish to lose Thiago if they could possibly avoid it, however the fact that the latter wasn’t granted the amount of playing time stipulated in his contract meant that a release clause of €90m ultimately shrank to just €18m.