By Tim Hanlon
BARCELONA (Reuters) – Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has been impressed by Villarreal winger Denis Suarez and could try to bring him back during the January transfer window.
Suarez has stood out with his poise and dribbling skills having been given a regular run in the Villarreal side this season, and he would be a cost effective option to boost the Barca ranks which have been depleted by the FIFA transfer ban.
Barca have a buy-back option on Suarez, reported to be three million euros ($3.3 million), which they could activate at the end of the season but may pay a reported 4.5 million euros ($4.9 million) to bring him in earlier.
“We have been watching him,” Luis Enrique told a news conference on Tuesday.
“He is a player that was at Sevilla but lacked minutes. He is playing at a very good level at the moment, an important player, and could be an interesting option.”
The 21-year-old is realising his early promise having struggled to adapt after being picked up by Manchester City, aged 17, having come through Celta Vigo’s youth academy.
He signed for Barcelona and was loaned out to Sevilla before a deal was agreed with Villarreal before this campaign.
Barca were unable to sign players during the last two transfer windows following a ban for illegally recruiting minors but it did not stop them winning five trophies in 2015.
They will be able to use Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal in January. They have not been able to play so far this season due to the sanction.
Barca face their final match of the year against Real Betis on Wednesday lying joint top of La Liga with Atletico Madrid on 35 points having played a game less due to their participation in the Club World Cup this month.
“The aim is to get to the final stage of this season in the same physical state as last year,” Luis Enrique said.
“We are working to rotate players and soon we will be able to include those who have been banned by FIFA.
“They (Turan and Vidal) have fitted in very well from the start and now we are going to be able to watch their skill on the pitch.”
(Editing by Ed Osmond)