News that FIFA have suspended the transfer ban they imposed upon Barcelona until the appeals process has been exhausted means mooted raids on Chelsea and Tottenham could be back on.
The Blues’ David Luiz and Lilywhites centre-half Jan Vertonghen both feature on the Camp Nou club’s shortlist of potential replacements for Carles Puyol according to Spanish sports periodical Mundo Desportivo.
Luiz was highlighted as the Blaugrana’s first choice for the role on a list that also included Mats Hummels of Borussia Dortmund.
Both men have plenty of cause to entertain any advances that come their way from Catalunya in the summer.
The Brazilian is shunted between centre-half and defensive-midfield as the situation dictates, yet he’s still made just 15 Premier League starts under Jose Mourinho.
Meanwhile at White Hart Lane, Vertonghen too is a victim of his own versatility more often than he might wish, having made seven league appearances at left-back already this term.
Furthermore, with Champions League qualification seemingly beyond the Lilywhites, the lure of playing in Europe’s premier club competition may prove to strong to resist for the Belgian.
Tottenham are as long as 150/1 to leapfrog Arsenal and Everton into the top four, but another season in the continent’s consolation cup looks a more realistic goal.
Tim Sherwood’s side are 7/20 to end the campaign in the Premier League’s leading sextet, a position they can consolidate with victory at Stoke City in their next outing.
Spurs are 13/10 for three points at the Britannia as they seek their third successive victory over the Potters.
To do so they will need to bring a halt to a miserable run of six away games without success.
It’s a task that’s sure to be easier said than done against a side that only Chelsea and Manchester City have managed to best in their last 12 outings.