Gerard Deulofeu has, in one way or another, always been an enigmatic figure at Everton. There can be no question over his production on the field, which was statistically outstanding... when he was on the field.
For whatever reason, neither Ronald Koeman or Roberto Martinez thought highly enough of Deulofeu’s contributions to value them above whatever his off field issues may be. Koeman played the Spaniard in preseason, even experimenting with him as a false 9, but eventually elected to send him to Italy on loan.
Since his arrival in Milan, “Geri” has been one of the team’s best players bar goalie Gianluigi Donnarumma. Playing predominantly on the left side of the Rossoneri attack, Deulofeu has amassed 2 goals and 3 assists in just 10 Serie A appearances. Additionally, Geri is averaging 2.3 successful dribbles and 1.5 key passes per game.
This is where it gets tricky. According to reports, Barcelona only have until June 30th (when the buy back clause expires) to make their decision, which is well before the summer transfer window ends.
Gerard Deulofeu’s future is on the line. Barcelona are seriously considering resigning him after he fine performances in Italy with AC Milan, on loan from Everton, and now his Spanish national team work.
The club have an option to buy him back for 12m euros as long as they execute it before June 30, and it seems like the decision is almost made. After that date the Blaugrana would only have the option of matching bids made by other clubs.
Barcelona have observed the evolutions made by Deulofeu in Italy and believe he has taken a big step.
Making matters even more interesting is the fact that AC Milan would like to make Deulofeu’s loan move permanent, which one of their executives, Adriano Galliani, alluded to in an interview with Milan TV.
"In June, you will know, I do not know what will happen in the market, so I cannot say anything.
I have spoken with the people in charge of Barcelona, but I will not tell you what they told me.”
In a final, bizarre twist, if Barcelona were to take Deulofeu back, it might not be so simple as selling him for a profit to the highest bidder, or even sending him out on loan to another La Liga side.
Two years ago, Roberto Martinez had this to say about Deulofeu’s move from the Camp Nou to Goodison Park.
There are certain things in the deal. They can’t take him back in the winter so they can’t take him back in January. It can only be at the end of the season. It is €9m for the first year and €12m in the second year.
If they take him back they can’t sell him for a season, so he has to stay in the first-team squad for a season. At the end of that if they decide to sell him we have got first rights of getting him back or we have got a big percentage of that deal. There is nothing we can do if they activate it. That was the deal and the only way we could access the player in the terms that we wanted. I’m delighted with the deal.
Barcelona, of course, are one of the world’s most talented squads. In front of Deulofeu on the depth chart would be Lionel Messi, Neymar, Sergi Roberto, Rafinha, Denis Suarez, Arda Turan, and Paco Alcacer. Would the Catalan club bring Geri back in only to realize a delayed profit on the player, all while he spends time at the end of their bench?
If not, could Everton welcome Deulofeu back into the fold next season? Given Yannick Bolasie’s long term injury, there could be room for a creative wide player if bridges are willing to be rebuilt on both sides.
Or, could the Blues be the side that collects the profit on Geri’s next transfer, be it to Milan on a permanent deal or elsewhere?
Ultimately, it’s anyone’s guess, but one thing’s for sure - we’ve yet to hear the last of this story.