Barcelona have opened talks with Ajax over a deal to sign right-back Noussair Mazraoui, and they would be prepared to send Sergiño Dest back to Amsterdam in exchange.
Mazraoui is out of contract in the summer and Barcelona have been holding exploratory talks over a free transfer at the end of the season, with Dest one of several players made available for transfer by new manager Xavi.
Now, AS claim that Barcelona are looking at bringing the Morocco international in in January, with Dest discussed as a possible makeweight in the deal.
Ajax had been adamant that they did not want to lose Mazraoui in the new year and weaken their squad, but the emergence of Dest as a viable option could change things.
There’s an obvious issue here, and that’s with the valuations of both players. Mazraoui is highly rated but just six months away from leaving Ajax for free, while Dest remains under contract until 2025 and was bought for £24m last year.
The suggestion is that Dest’s return to Ajax would be a permanent one, so the two sides are now discussing ways to make this work.
Moving to sign Mazraoui in January would be a smart move from Barcelona as the right-back has no shortage of suitors across Europe. Arsenal, Manchester City, Leeds United and Brighton have all been linked recently, while Real Madrid’s interest was reported a few months ago.
Xavi is desperate to bolster his defence as soon as possible and, with little faith in Dest, has already been working to that extent. Dani Alves has returned to Camp Nou and will be eligible to play in January, but the boss wants more options.
Barcelona have kept just three clean sheets in La Liga this season, conceding 22 goals in just 18 games.