Barcelona want Tottenham target to play big role if €18 million star joins Manchester United

Tottenham were last month claimed to be in talks for Barcelona starlet Sergi Roberto.

When Andre Villas-Boas visited Barcelona a month-and-a-half ago, two possible reasons were thrown out as to his visit.

(a) To close a deal for David Villa, or (b) he was actually there to discuss signing young prospect Sergi Roberto.

Sergi Roberto is the next central midfield jewel to come through Barcelona's La Masia academy, but faces a tough task to win a place in the first team with Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas and Thiago in his path.

Tottenham's current status of interest is as yet unknown, but the club are likely to be on the lookout for talented youngsters from Spain, snapping up Cristian Ceballos from Barcelona previoiusly.

It should also be remembered that Andre Villas-Boas is the man who signed Juan Mata from Valencia while he was Chelsea boss.

Sergi Roberto is now 21, and needs to progress at Barcelona, if not it will be time to move on.

Which is why this summer is crucial for him, because there is a lot of speculation as to the future of two players blocking his path - Fabregas and Thiago.

Fabregas has recently, again, affirmed his future to Barcelona - Although that will be absolutely determined once he returns from international duty with Spain.

The player who there is less clarity about is Thiago Alcantara, the 22-year-old who is available for €18 million due to a clause in his contract, triggered after he failed to play a stipulated number of minutes for the club this season.

Manchester United are strongly rumoured to be interested in snapping him up, with the bargain price making him an ideal addition to their midfield.

Barcelona haven't given up hope of holding onto him, but as Mundo Deportivo reports, they are preparing Sergi Roberto as a replacement if he does leave, rather than buying a replacement with the money.

This would in turn scotch any chances Tottenham have of landing Sergi Roberto, who would get the chance he always hoped for at Barcelona.

There is a lot to play out this summer, but if Spurs are serious about snapping up the Barcelona starlet, their chances could rest on whether Thiago departs for United or any other club.

image: © castroquini2011

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