Barcelona have publicly confirmed for the first time that they are interested in signing Santos’ wunderkind Neymar.
The Catalans are reported in most quarters as having already paid a €10m deposit on the 21-year-old ahead of a future move up to the end of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Until now, though, no-one at the club had officially commented on the club’s continued links with the attacker.
However, Barca’s Vice-President Josep Maria Bartomeu has admitted that the club are ready to make a move, but that it is determined by the player’s desire.
“It would be good to sign any exciting player. First we look to home and then to the market if needed,” began Bartomeu today on Barcelona Televisio.
“Neymar has to step up and say that he wants to leave Santos. At that time, Barca will be there to try to sign him, because the club’s technical staff have requested him.
“He shall be the starting point for many clubs, though, because half the world wants him.”
The director also left the door open for Victor Valdes to go back on his decision to not sign an extension to his contract beyond its current June 2014 expiry.
“It remains that he has informed us that he wants to go in June 2014. We will have to work towards his release.
“We will always have the door open in case he wants to stay. Also, I have the impression that we will not find anyone better on the market.
“However, Victor is a smart guy when making a decision. So far the club have not spoken to any other goalkeeper.”
David Villa has been continually linked with an exit, and Bartomeu confirmed that if he pushes for one, they will discuss it.
“There was some fuss in January and so we wanted to set things out soon. The club’s technical staff want Villa to continue and that he is needed, but we will not retain any player that is uncomfortable.
“In that case, we will talk to him to find a solution.”
Bartomeu confirmed that he, Sandro Rosell and Andoni Zubizarreta will travel out to New York next Tuesday to plan out next season with Coach Tito Vilanova, who is in the city undergoing treatment as part of his recovery from throat cancer.