Barcelona have reportedly opened talks with Villarreal over the €3m return of young playmaker Denis Suarez in January.
According to Mundo Deportivo, Denis has emerged as the Catalans’ top target due to his price, profile and past association with the club.
The 21-year-old joined the Yellow Submarine on a four-year contract in the summer, but Barca retained a buyback option in the sale.
However, the transfer is not expected to go through until Villarreal sign a replacement for Denis, with another loan for Real Madrid’s Denis Cheryshev being lined up.
The Spain Under-21 international, who began his professional career with Manchester City, initially moved to Barca in 2013, before being loaned out to Sevilla last season as part of the deal which took Ivan Rakitic to Camp Nou.
He scored six goals in 47 appearances as the Andalucians successfully defended the Europa League and has since netted three times and laid off seven assists in 19 games for Villarreal.
Denis’ arrival is likely to be followed up that of a forward, with Alvaro Negredo and Angel Correa most recently entering the fray.