Barcelona have decided to trigger the buy-back clause on Everton winger Gerard Deulofeu. Reliable Times correspondent Paul Joyce tweeted this evening -
Barcelona to trigger buy back on Gerard Deulofeu. Everton to receive £10.5m— paul joyce (@_pauljoyce) June 18, 2017
Deulofeu had spoken recently about his intent on staying at Milan and continuing to get the playing minutes that he was unlikely to receive at Everton. However, it is unclear if Barca consulted with the player before deciding to activate the buyback clause which expires on June 30th.
The winger has 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 nor 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 4 goals and 3 assists in just 17 Serie A appearances. Additionally, Geri is averaging 2.9 successful dribbles and 2.5 key passes per game.
Even still, it’s somewhat surprising that a team of Barcelona’s caliber would be prepared to exercise the buy-back clause inserted when Deulofeu moved to Everton, but that seems to be the case.
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.
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?
For Everton, the departure of Deulofeu means the club only have Yannick Bolasie and Aaron Lennon as genuine wingers, with neither of the pair available for another few months at the very least. This more than anything else is as sure a sign that the Blues are going to stick to using forwards in wide spaces than out and out wingers.