Barca eye talented French shot-stopper for next season.
Barcelona have identified Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris as another potential candidate to replace Victor Valdes as the club’s number one next season, CaughtOffside understands.
The Catalan giants are known to be on the lookout for a new shot-stopper with the news that the long-serving Valdes is set to end his association with the club when his contract expires at the end of the season, leaving manager Gerardo Martino with a headache in that position of the pitch.
Valdes has been at the Nou Camp for his entire career so far, having come up through the club’s youth system, and he has been a central figure in their tremendous success over the last decade, helping them to six La Liga title wins and three Champions League titles.
However, he has made the decision to let his contract run down with the club and move on to try a new challenge, with several clubs including Arsenal, Manchester City, PSG and Monaco all being linked as admirers of his, as he looks a particularly tempting signing on a free transfer next summer.
Barcelona had hoped to replace him in the summer just gone, though they failed to secure the signing of their main target Pepe Reina, who instead moved on loan from Liverpool to Serie A side Napoli.
They are now thought to be looking at Chelsea duo Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois, as the Stamford Bridge club face a decision over which of their talented ‘keepers to install as their number one next season, meaning one will surely be made available in the transfer market.
However, Martino is also a fan of Spurs’ Lloris, who has looked like one of the best goalkeepers in Europe for a few years now, maintaining his impressive form from his Lyon days at new club Tottenham.
Big-spending Monaco are also thought to be keen on bringing Lloris back to Ligue 1, and could price Barcelona out of a move if their interest is serious, with the significant financial backing they can now enjoy from wealthy Russian owner Dmitry Rybolovlev, which has seen them bring in big names such as Radamel Falcao, Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez during this summer’s transfer window.
Spurs won’t want to sell such a key player after already being forced to lose star-name Gareth Bale to Real Madrid this summer in an £85m deal, even if the sale has allowed them to reinvest heavily in revamping the rest of their squad.
Although the lure of Barcelona is always hard to turn down, Lloris may feel he is in no hurry to leave White Hart Lane just yet, as he is only in his second season at the club, though whether or not the north London side secure Champions League football for next season could play a part in his decision.