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Barcelona's spectacular plot for €60m Manchester United and Chelsea target would solve long-term problem


Koke, a target for Manchester United and Chelsea previously, is subject of an ambitious plan from Barcelona.

Atletico Madrid maestro Koke is the subject of late interest from Barcelona, who aim to push through a deal before the transfer deadline.

Having failed in their appeal against their transfer ban this week, the Blaugruna have until September 1 until it kicks in - and then will not be able to sign any players until 2016.

With long-term ambitions to replace Xavi and Andres Iniesta, a midfielder will be high on their agenda, as will a right-back to cover Dani Alves.

Spanish newspaper Sport reports that Barcelona are plotting to sign Atletico Madrid star Koke, and loan him back to their La Liga rivals for one season.

They hope this will be enough to convince the player to do a deal, who has a release clause of €60 million.

Despite their extravagant purchase of Luis Suarez, Barcelona can still afford to buy Koke, given they would be spending next summer's allocated transfer budget in advance, which they will not be permitted to do next summer.

Koke signed a new deal in January, and went onto win La Liga this summer. He has been touted as Xavi's replacement for Spain's national side after the Barcelona man's recent international retirement.

Barcelona enquired after Koke earlier this summer, and the midfielder admitted to having being tempted.

"The truth is that part of me said it was difficult to say no to Barca but I wanted to continue at home for many years at Atletico," he told AS.

"It wasn’t time to leave. This is my home, where I feel wanted and the club didn’t need to sell. How was I going to leave at the best time for Atletico? It’s not easy to say no to Barca and their interest was appreciated. It means the work I’ve done has paid off. But I’m at home here."

Convincing him now will again be tough, and Barcelona's interest could yet bring Premier League sides Manchester United back to the negotiating table - Atletico Madrid would surely prefer that if the 22-year-old sensation moves on, it is to a club abroad.

Such a deal would, if pulled off, be a major coup for Barcelona, and solve a long-term problem hovering over them which they took mixed steps in addressing earlier this summer.

Selling Cesc Fabregas was a very short-term move, when they should have dug in to keep the Spaniard onside.

Ivan Rakitic's signing was a big addition, but placing too much pressure on the Croatian's shoulders could backfire, and adding Koke into the mix would ensure Barcelona stay strong for years to come.

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