Barcelona "cannot afford" to let unsettled midfielder Arturo Vidal leave the club in January, according to president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Vidal has started just four of Barca's 20 matches this season and last month vowed to quit the Spanish champions next year if he is not made to "feel important".

Barca boss Ernesto Valverde has opened the door for the Chile international to find a new team, with Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta recently hinting his side are interested.

However, Bartomeu is expecting Vidal - a reported €18million signing from Bayern Munich in August 2018 - to remain at Camp Nou until at least the end of the season.

"No movement is expected in January," he told La Repubblica. "We have a balanced squad - we don't lack anything, but we also cannot afford to lose someone. 

"Several times before a player has showed a willingness to leave, but never in January. In some cases we have let them go, on other occasions we have convinced them to stay."

Barcelona travel to Inter in the Champions League on Tuesday with top spot already assured in Group F, while the Italians need to match Borussia Dortmund's result against Slavia Prague.

Lautaro Martinez has been in fine form for the Serie A leaders this season, leading to reports he is on Barca's radar, but Bartomeu was unwilling to comment on the speculation.

"This is a trap question," he said. "What I can say is that Inter are playing very well and he is not the only player who has impressed me. It is no coincidence that Inter are top of Serie A."

Arsenal appear to be spiralling into a deeper mess as the days pass.

Just over a week on from sacking Unai Emery, the Gunners now reportedly have doubts over how long Freddie Ljungberg should be left in charge.

Misjudging the situation could have serious ramifications for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's future.

 

TOP STORY – DOUBTS EMERGE OVER LJUNGBERG

Arsenal fear interim boss Ljungberg's lack of managerial experience will force them to make a full-time appointment before the end of the season, reports The Mirror.

Gunners chiefs seemed set to back the Swede when Emery was moved aside but a draw with Norwich City at Carrow Road and the 2-1 loss to Brighton and Hove Albion in midweek have cast doubt over his capabilities.

Action could be taken sooner rather than later as the club mull over a list of potential targets, particularly as there are "growing concerns" about star striker Aubameyang .

The 30-year-old has reportedly stalled on contract talks and the lack of clarity over the head coaching position could end with Arsenal being forced to sell one of their strongest assets.

 

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea have Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha and Leicester City left-back Ben Chilwell in their sights after their transfer ban was reduced on Friday, reports The Athletic.

- Juventus are considering a move for either Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic or Leandro Paredes of Paris Saint-Germain, claims Corriere Torino.

- Inter's interest in Arturo Vidal could aid Barca's bid to sign Lautaro Martinez from the Serie A side, according to Mundo Deportivo.

- Steven Gerrard is on the verge of agreeing a new deal with Rangers that will see him remain as manager until 2024, says The Sun.

- Two Eredivisie stars could be headed for Portugal, reports A Bola. Belgian forward Cyriel Dessers of Heracles Almelo and exciting AZ prospect Myron Boadu are said to be in the sights of Primeira Liga heavyweights Sporting CP .

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde opened the door for Arturo Vidal's departure in January, acknowledging the LaLiga champions have a lot of midfielders.

Vidal has been linked with a move to Serie A outfit Inter as the Barcelona midfielder struggles for regular game time at Camp Nou.

The 32-year-old Chilean has made 14 appearances across all competitions this season, though only four have been starts.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's match against Real Mallorca, Valverde told reporters: "Vidal is our player. We are happy with him. There are so many rumours. We will see tomorrow if he plays or not.

"And when the January transfer window arrives, we will see what happens."

"There's a lot of things going on in January but it's true that we have a lot of midfielders," Valverde said. "Some have played more than others but all of them are needed."

Ivan Rakitic is another midfielder, whose future with Barcelona is up in the air as the Croatia international eyes regular football.

Rakitic – a reported target for Inter and former club Sevilla – has only made two LaLiga starts this term.

"He's a reliable player in a lot of ways," Valverde added. "In the same way that there have been moments when he has not featured, he has continued training [with the same intensity] to seize his opportunity.

"He's played at a good level [in the last two games] and we're happy with that. We'll see what happens in the next few games. He has emerged in a difficult period."

Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal is a player many teams would like to sign, according to Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta.

Vidal featured in 13 of Barca's 18 matches this season prior to Sunday's trip to Atletico Madrid, though just four of those appearances have been starts.

The Chile international this week vowed to leave Camp Nou next year should he fail to be given more minutes by Ernesto Valverde, despite having 18 months to run on his contract.

Inter have been tipped to move for Vidal, who worked with Marotta and head coach Antonio Conte at Juventus, but the Nerazzurri chief said his Barcelona deal must be respected.

"He is an important player on the world stage and both Conte and I are tied to him because of our great past together," Marotta told Sky Sport Italia.

"We have great considerations of him. I think a lot of teams would like to sign him, but unfortunately he's at Barcelona. However, thoughts can certainly be made."

Inter beat SPAL 2-1 on Sunday through a Lautaro Martinez brace to leapfrog Juventus at the Serie A summit.

Ousmane Dembele's latest injury lay-off has affected the player and represents a "big loss" for Barcelona, according to head coach Ernesto Valverde.

The 22-year-old injured his right hamstring in the first half of Barca's 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday and is expected to be sidelined until February.

It is the latest in a string of fitness issues Dembele has suffered since his €105million transfer from Dortmund in August 2017, including three thigh problems, two damaged hamstrings and an ankle sprain.

Valverde is unsure why the France international has been regularly struck down by injuries over the past few seasons and wants others to fill the void.

"I'm not a specialist in muscle fibres," he said at Saturday's news conference. "I say that everything comes from the first injury. I do not have a concrete idea [of why he picks up these injuries]. He is a very explosive player.

"I've talked to him. Now he is calmer after the injury, but he was very affected especially by the repetition [of a muscular injury]. We'll try to cover for the loss with players from the B team, who are responding by playing at a good level.

"It's clear that when he arrived here two years ago, he had to get used to our style and fit in here. It is true that he was improving, being calm, training well. He is a big loss and it's an unexpected setback."

Dembele will be unavailable during a tricky run of fixtures for LaLiga's champions, who face Atletico Madrid on Sunday before matches against Mallorca, Inter, Real Sociedad and Real Madrid.

Barca have come from behind to draw 1-1 on their previous two trips to Wanda Metropolitano and Valverde expects another tough test this weekend.

"In both games we fell behind and we had to come back, but they followed a very similar pattern," he said on the eve of the match. 

"We took the initiative, but they hurt us by attacking us. It is possible that it will become like this or that there is some modification tomorrow. They are good in attack and strong in defence, very cohesive. It'll be an attractive match.

"Any match at Atletico's ground is important for everyone. It is one of the important matches for everyone and we have to play well."

Arturo Vidal is expected to be part of Barcelona's travelling squad, despite suggesting this week that he will force through a move next year if he is not given more playing time.

Valverde does not believe the Chile international is pressuring him into getting more minutes, however, adding: "I don't think so. It's more a personal reflection. The transfer market isn't open yet, so when it starts we'll see.

"He fitted in well from the beginning. When he arrived he already knew that he was coming to a team that had won the league and cup.

"He found his place. The great players want to play, there is a lot of competition, but I reiterate that the market has not opened yet."

Arturo Vidal has vowed to leave Barcelona next year if he is not made to "feel important" by the LaLiga champions.

The Chile international has featured in 13 of Barca's 18 matches this season, though just four of those appearances have been starts.

Vidal arrived at Camp Nou from Bayern Munich in 2018 and has another 18 months to run on his contract, but the 32-year-old will consider an early exit if he is not given more minutes.

"I would like to be here forever, but I have to be objective and live day to day," he told Televisio de Catalunya.

"If in December or at the end of the season I do not feel important here, I will look for a solution and expand my horizons [in order] to be important."

Barcelona are top of LaLiga and through to the last 16 of the Champions League with a game to spare, but Vidal acknowledged performances have not been good enough.

"One could say that everything is fine but, clearly, the team, to achieve our goals, to lift the trophy at the end of the season, have to improve a lot," he said.

"We're on time. We have to begin giving the maximum or working much more.

"The Champions League looks pretty tough. There are very strong teams. Liverpool already showed last year that they were physically superior."

Barcelona return to action on Sunday with a trip to title rivals Atletico Madrid.

Ernesto Valverde acknowledged Barcelona were far from convincing against Leganes but was content to come away from Estadio Municipal de Butarque with a win.

Barca hit back with a couple of second-half goals in Saturday's clash against LaLiga's bottom side after falling behind to Youssef En-Nesyri's impressive early strike.

Luis Suarez headed in Lionel Messi's floated free-kick and substitute Arturo Vidal completed the comeback 11 minutes from time with a scrappy goal.

A third away win in four outings for Barca moved them three points clear at the top of LaLiga, but Valverde conceded his side were again below par on their travels.

"We have to be happy," he told Movistar. "I know it was not a brilliant game and we know it was a difficult game to play because they made it difficult for us.

"The opponents showed lots of hunger and it was windy, but I don't want to make excuses. They defended well and made it difficult for us to play.

"We have not had a good start away from home because we have lost three games - that hurts. 

"It was not a brilliant game, but on the other hand we were a goal down - something that has happened to us many times - and we came away with a victory.

"The positive is that we were losing and won. I recognise that it has been a difficult match, but these are the matches we have to win."

Valverde fielded an attacking line-up for the trip to the Spanish capital that included Messi, Antoine Griezmann, Suarez and Ousmane Dembele in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

The front four interchanged throughout but created only one chance of note in the first half, with Suarez being denied by Ivan Cuellar.

"We have practised with that formation since the players returned from international duty," Valverde said. "We expected to have space in behind, but once Leganes scored that changed.

"It is clear we have to keep improving. Even when you win there will by a lot of criticism, because people not only look at the result but also the game.

"But we also did good things today, otherwise we would not have won."

Vidal scored 22 minutes after being introduced from the bench to make it four goals in nine LaLiga appearances this season.

The midfielder was initially flagged for offside, but the goal was allowed to stand as the final touch from Dembele's corner came off opposition midfielder Ruben Perez's leg.

"It's always nice to score when it gives us three points," Vidal told Movistar. "It was a difficult match and we had to rescue the points. 

"It was very cold, we were coming off the back of a break and our opponents were playing for their lives.

"The new system was the coach's idea. We did not start well but in the second half we controlled play with the system we usually use."

Substitute Arturo Vidal rescued Barcelona with a scrappy late goal as the leaders of LaLiga recovered from an early setback to win 2-1 at bottom side Leganes on Saturday.

Barca boss Ernesto Valverde fielded an attacking line-up that included Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele in a 4-2-3-1 formation, but it did not look like paying off for large parts.

Leganes have won just once all season but the underdogs took the lead through Youssef En-Nesyri's sublime early strike, before the champions hit back in the second half.

Suarez dragged his side back on level terms and Vidal scored in fortuitous fashion 11 minutes from time to move Barca three points clear at the summit, the winning goal allowed to stand after a VAR check showed the midfielder was not offside due to the ball reaching him via a Leganes player.

Barcelona lost 2-1 at Leganes last season and were behind inside 12 minutes on this latest trip, En-Nesyri cutting inside on his left and curling the ball into the top-left corner.

Suarez wasted a couple of promising opportunities before forcing an excellent fingertip save from Ivan Cuellar with a header from Dembele's cross.

But the Uruguay international found a way through eight minutes into the second half after being left free on the edge of the six-yard box to head in Messi's free-kick.

Barcelona took control of the contest but were left frustrated until Vidal struck 22 minutes after being introduced from the bench.

Vidal was left in space to bundle the ball past Cuellar from close range after Dembele's corner deflected into his path, the touch off the leg of Ruben Perez ensuring the goalscorer was onside despite Leganes' protests.

Barcelona are planning for life after Luis Suarez.

With Suarez now aged 32, the clock is ticking on his career at Camp Nou.

Barca are identifying potential replacements and have their sights on an Argentina international setting Serie A and Europe alight.

 

TOP STORY – MARTINEZ INTERESTS BARCA

LaLiga champions Barcelona are interested in Inter star Lautaro Martinez, reports Mundo Deportivo.

Ernesto Valverde's Barca are looking for a long-term replacement for Uruguay forward Luis Suarez, who turns 33 in January. 

And the front page of Friday's newspaper says Argentina international Martinez fits the bill for Barca amid reported interest from Manchester United.

 

ROUND-UP

Roma have opened talks with Manchester United about signing Chris Smalling permanently, according to the Express. Smalling is on loan from United and the English defender scored his first goal for Roma during the week. The Red Devils are reportedly seeking £17.2million (€20m).

- Remaining at Old Trafford and Sport Italia claims Paul Pogba was close to joining Paris Saint-Germain during the previous transfer window. Pogba was heavily linked to LaLiga giants Real Madrid and former club Juventus .

- Tuttosport says Juventus are ready to make another attempt to sign Real Madrid midfielder Isco. The Spain international has struggled for regular game time and Madrid are reportedly holding out for €70m. The Italian champions have also been linked to Manchester United teenager Tahith Chong, who is out of contract at the end of the season, via the Daily Mail.

- Barcelona's Arturo Vidal is ready to snub the Chinese Super League in favour for a move to Inter, says InterNews. Vidal continues to be heavily linked to a reunion with former Juve boss Antonio Conte at Inter, while Chinese giants Shanghai SIPG are reportedly interested.

United could be set for a raid on Juve. Tuttosport claims the Old Lady will allow Emre Can to leave in January as United, Bayern Munich and PSG eye the Germany international.

- According to the Daily Mail, former Manchester United and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is the front-runner to replace Unai Emery at Arsenal. Emery is under mounting pressure in London.

Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal said superstar captain Lionel Messi is "from another planet" after producing a masterclass performance against Real Valladolid.

Messi was at his trademark best with a brace and two assists as LaLiga champions Barca routed Valladolid 5-1 at Camp Nou on Tuesday.

Argentina international Messi set up Vidal with an exquisite pass before scoring a stunning free-kick – the 50th of his career for club and country – prior to half-time.

Messi netted his second of the match after the break and teed up Luis Suarez as Barca moved top of the table.

"It makes a difference with Leo giving all his quality. When he's like this, the team feels it," Vidal told Movistar Plus.

"We see him every day, but he surprises us every day. Leo is from another planet. 

"We are happy, we won and the team felt good. I have no words to talk about Leo. You have to take advantage of it and make the most of him."

Although Clement Lenglet's second-minute opener was fortuitously cancelled out by Valladolid's Kiko Olivas 13 minutes later, Messi was able to inspire Barca against the visitors.

Barca are two points clear of Granada and Atletico Madrid – the latter of whom have played an extra match due to the postponement of El Clasico last weekend – after 10 games.

"These victories help you, but you have to keep improving," Vidal, who has been linked to Serie A outfit Inter, added. "The game against Slavia [Prague in the Champions League] is not what we know how to do. Hopefully it won't happen to us from now on."

Rumours linking Paul Pogba to Real Madrid are refusing to go away.

Pogba – nursing an ankle injury which is set to keep him sidelined until December – wanted to leave Manchester United in the previous transfer window but a move did not materialise.

With the January window approaching, Madrid are eyeing the French star again.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID PLOTTING POGBA PURCHASE

Real Madrid are preparing to make a January bid for Manchester United star Paul Pogba, according to OK Diario.

Pogba was wanted by Madrid and former club Juventus in the previous window as he eyed an Old Trafford exit, yet United were unwilling to part with their prized asset.

But with Pogba reportedly set to make it clear he will not renew his United contract beyond 2021, Madrid are lining up a €150million (£129.5m) offer.

 

ROUND-UP

- Another Frenchman is also reportedly high on Madrid's radar. AS reports the Spanish powerhouse are hoping to take advantage of a tense relationship between Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe and head coach Thomas Tuchel. Madrid are determined to lure Mbappe to the Santiago Bernabeu at the end of the season.

- Linked with Madrid and LaLiga champions Barcelona, in-demand Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz is also wanted by Premier League holders Manchester City. Gazzetta dello Sport claims City are set to make an approach for the Spain international.

- According to Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona are interested in Inter forward Lautaro Martinez. The Argentina international has been linked with Barca after his agent previously revealed the club's interest in Martinez. Now, Ernesto Valverde's side are eyeing the in-form marksman – who has also reportedly attracted the attention of Manchester United – as Inter pursue Barca pair Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal.

United are prepared to meet Borussia Dortmund's demands for England sensation Jadon Sancho, reports the Mirror. Sancho has also been linked to Liverpool and Madrid.

Stefano Sensi's exploits at Inter have not gone unnoticed. On loan from Sassuolo with the option to buy, Sport says there is already contact between Barca, Inter and the player's agent.

Take your pick: Real Madrid, Barcelona or Manchester City?

Napoli star Fabian Ruiz is in demand following his exploits in Serie A since leaving Real Betis in 2018.

LaLiga giants Madrid are keen to bring Spanish midfielder Fabian to the Santiago Bernabeu.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID STEPPING UP FABIAN INTEREST

Real Madrid are prepared to offer €20million and Isco for Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz, according to Mundo Deportivo.

In-demand Napoli star Fabian is wanted by Madrid, LaLiga champions Barcelona and Premier League holders Manchester City.

Fabian swapped Real Betis for Napoli in 2018 and Madrid are determined to bring the Spain international to the Santiago Bernabeu, though Napoli are reportedly uninterested in an exchange and wanted a bigger transfer fee.

 

ROUND-UP

- According the Mirror, Manchester United have been given the green light for a £125million double swoop to sign Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz and Bayern Munich forward Thomas Muller. Havertz is wanted by Europe's elite, while Muller is searching for more game time.

United have been put off signing Real Madrid's Gareth Bale due to his injury record, reports the Daily Mail. Bale's name continues to be mentioned amid Madrid's interest in United midfielder Paul Pogba.

Inter are ready to make January bids for Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal and Manchester United's Nemanja Matic, according to Corriere della Sera. Sport also claims Inter are in talks with Barca for Ivan Rakitic.

- AS claims Barcelona want Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman to replace head coach Ernesto Valverde, who is out of contract at season's end. PSV's Mark van Bommel is also on the list of alternatives.

Manchester City are set to offer Wayne Rooney's son Kai the chance to join their academy, says the Mirror. Kai joined City in 2016 during Wayne's time at Premier League rivals Manchester United.

- Soccer Link reports Lyon are open to selling Manchester United target and star striker Moussa Dembele.

Arturo Vidal was in no mood to paper over the cracks after Chile secured a 3-2 friendly victory over Guinea. 

The Barcelona midfielder scored from the spot as Chile came from behind to triumph at Estadio Jose Rico Perez in Spain on Tuesday.

It was Chile's first win in normal time since June, but the performance left a lot to be desired and Vidal conceded there was plenty of room for improvement. 

"The important thing was that we won," he said, with Reinaldo Rueda's side having been held to goalless draw by Colombia at the weekend. "We scored three goals and that has not happened for a long time. 

"The desire and work are there, we have to wait a little longer and keep improving, we can give more. If we give everything in each game, we can reach our goals.

"We gave them the first chance and they scored with it. We had to go looking and we managed to score three goals. We have to improve, clearly.

"There are very few players left from the last 10 years, there are new players that need to be supported. In the future this team can achieve a lot."

Jean Meneses and Felipe Mora were both on target, opening their accounts at international level. 

Colombia and Chile drew 0-0 in a boisterous friendly that saw heavy challenges flying between the South American rivals.

The result in Alicante mirrored the scoreline after 90 minutes of June's Copa America quarter-final, which Chile went on to win 5-4 on penalties, and it was clear neither side wanted to lose face in front of a lively crowd at Estadio Jose Rico Perez.

In the absence of James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao, Colombia started with Duvan Zapata up front alongside Luis Muriel and Roger Martinez and looked the more dangerous side throughout.

Juan Cuadrado's 40-yard spring almost produced an early goal but he fired into the legs of Claudio Bravo after 16 minutes.

Colombia dominated the first half but Chile countered dangerously, with Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez combining for a sweeping move that Barcelona man Vidal failed to finish off.

Cuadrado went down clutching his ankle after a scything challenge from Erick Pulgar in the box shortly after half-time but had his claims for a penalty dismissed by the referee.

A member of Carlos Queiroz's coaching staff was shown a red card after tempers spilled over on the Colombia bench, and four yellow cards were shown as the second half turned into a scrap.

One moment of quality from Colombia saw substitute Jefferson Lerma presented with a clear shooting chance from the edge of the box eight minutes from time, but his attempt was at a comfortable height for Bravo, who saved to ensure the scoresheet remained blank at the final whistle.

Antoine Griezmann's integration at Barcelona has been "difficult" but the Frenchman will justify his signing if given time, according to team-mate Arturo Vidal.

Griezmann joined Barca from Atletico Madrid in pre-season, costing the Blaugrana €120million after a protracted transfer saga.

Barca had reportedly been chasing the France international for well over a year, and although they eventually got their man after being rebuffed in 2018, the start of their union has been unspectacular.

Griezmann's largely ineffective performances have been widely criticised, with many expecting more from him than the three goals and two assists in seven LaLiga outings.

Vidal accepts Griezmann's adaptation could have gone better, though he remains confident in the forward.

"It's been difficult [for Griezmann] to integrate and adapt," Vidal told Sport. "He arrived at the best team in the world with the best players.

"He comes from a side that plays very differently, but he's got a lot of quality. We all know that Griezmann is one of the best in the world.

"What we need to do is wait a little, give him some time. When he knows the best way to play and understands what the coach needs from him, I'm sure he will help us a lot."

While Barca's injury problems in attack have arguably contributed to Griezmann's struggles, they have also given 16-year-old Ansu Fati the chance to step up.

The winger has caught the eye several times with his direct style and ability on the ball, even forcing himself into contention for a call-up to Spain's senior side, which is seemingly just around the corner.

Vidal is an admirer of the teenager but urged caution and stressed the need for the club to shield him.

"He's got a glorious future ahead of him," Vidal added. "He's a very young player but he's already shown so much quality.

"But we must be calm with him, help him and most importantly protect him. He needs to prepare himself properly to be one of the best around.

"You can see he has the necessary quality to be with us."

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