Midfielder Carles Alena has hinted he may join Real Betis permanently this summer following a loan switch from Barcelona.
Comments from Betis chairman Angel Haro said on Thursday that “hopefully this can be the beginning of a longer duration,” for the player, who also spoke of his openness to a permanent move.
The 21-year-old La Masia youth graduate made 27 first-team appearances for the club last season after being promoted from their B team.
However, the central midfielder has been frozen out of action for Ernesto Valverde’s team this summer and had not featured since the opening day of the season – a 1-0 loss at Athletic Club Bilbao.
Last month saw Alena more heavily involved – he came off the bench at Real Mallorca before playing the full game at Inter.
Alena played the first half of that match before being substituted off but has struggled to feature since, with the club well stocked with central midfielders.
Frenkie de Jong, Sergio Busquets, Arturo Vidal, Ivan Rakitic and Artur Melo are the first-choice central midfielders at the club, with academy product Riqui Puig also said to be favoured among the Blaugrana staff.
“In football you never know, we'll see what happens next. Now I just want to focus on Betis and do my best,” Alena told reporters, as cited by Marca.
“I don't know if (Barcelona boss Ernesto) Valverde was surprised or not. I told him that I wanted to come to Betis. A clause would let me decide my future.
“I am crazy to step into this stadium. I have already played here as a rival and I got goosebumps, I hope I can return all this love.
“When you arrive you see how big Betis is, it is a difficult feeling to explain, it hooks you. I am excited to be able to live this so young, in a spectacular city, it is a dream. I hope to get great things as a group and that Betis goes up (in the table).”