Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo has provided Chelsea and Manchester United with a little bit of hope in the race to sign Atletico Madrid star Koke.
MD claims that while Barca are still interesting in a move for the Spaniard, a deal isn’t close to happening and suggests negotiations will be a long, drawn out process.
“Barca have admitted the player is first on the list (of players to replace Xavi) but he is still far from joining the Catalan club. It will be a long process,” reports MD.
Chelsea’s need to sign Koke has been muted by the recent arrival of Cesc Fabregas at Stamford Bridge.
It’s highly unlikely that Barcelona would have allowed Fabregas to head back to London had they believed or known that the Blues would fight over a deal for the Atletico Madrid midfielder.
Chelsea have also already done a great deal of business with Atletico. If reports are to be believed, Tiago is on his way back to the club, talks are ongoing over a deal for Diego Costa and Filipe Luis could be Chelsea’s left-back next season.
What Manchester United have working against them is the same disadvantages which will plague them as they go after any player this summer.
Koke is one of the best midfielders in Spain at the moment and a player who is used to performing on the biggest stage.
What United can’t offer him is Champions League football, which would surely be a stipulation for the 22-year-old if he was thinking of leaving La Liga and taking on the experience of a new league and challenge.
United are certainly in a position to be able to compete financially due to their global commercial network, but they can’t do anything about targets wanting to immediately play in European competition.
Barca seem to hold the advantage in the race to sign him if Atletico can’t keep him committed to the club for next season, as they look to defend their La Liga title in the face of revitalised challenges from the Nou Camp side and Real Madrid.