Could Manchester City's new Barcelona insider help them poach one of these three top talents?
While Man City have never been afraid to splash the cash on signings in the past, tempting some of Barcelona's best home grown talent to move to the Etihad is a different question altogether, but the Citizens now have a secret weapon if they hope to do so. New City chief executive Ferran Soriano was a member of Barcelona's board under Joan Laporta from 2003 to 2008, one of the most successful periods in Barca's history, and reports in Spain claim he could use his detailed knowledge of the contractual situations of some of Barcelona's brightest youngsters to attempt to bring them to Manchester. talkSPORT look at the three top talents reported to be heading his list...
Name: Sergi Roberto
Date of birth: 7 February, 1992
Birthplace: Reus, Spain
International appearances: Spain U21 (3)
Honours: La Liga (2010/11), Spanish Supercup (2010), UEFA Champions League (2010/11)
A dazzling young midfielder with a brilliant range of passing, Sergi Roberto's excellent performances for Barcelona's B team in the second division were rewarded with a first team debut in 2011. The youngster has made a handful of appearances for the first team since then, impressing with his maturity throughout, and topped it off with a man of the match display against Sampdoria in pre-season. New Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova clearly rates the midfielder, including him in several of his matchday squads for the first team this season, but with so many gifted midfielders ahead of him in the pecking order, the waiting game for the youngster is something City could exploit. At the age of 20, he looks to have made the elusive step up to the top level successfully, and would be a welcome addition at City if they are looking to inject some Barca rhythm into their play. With a current buyout clause of only £12m and still no senior contract, Barcelona will need to be wary.
Name: Gerard Deulofeu
Date of birth: 13 March, 1994
Birthplace: Riudarenes, Spain
International appearances: 2 (Spain U21) / 19 (Spain U19)
Honours: UEFA U19 Championship (x2)
Arguably the most exciting young player in the Barca ranks at the moment, Gerard Deulofeu's cockiness is only matched by his talent. The tricky forward has met every step up with ease, looking incredibly comfortable on his outings with Barcelona's first team in pre-season, and his inclusion in their Champions League squad this year suggests there's plenty more to come from him with the senior team. That's no surprise given his summer outing with Spain's U19's, helping the mini-Roja side win the tournament for the second year in a row with a string of man of the match displays. With pace in abundance and a touch of Ronaldinho-esque brilliance, any side that could tempt him from the Nou Camp will have landed a world class talent of tomorrow.
Check out Deulofeu scoring a hat-trick by rounding the keeper, Burying a Ronaldinho-like free kick then finding the net straight from a corner...
Name: Cristian Tello
Date of birth: 11 August, 1991
Birthplace: Sabadell, Spain
International appearances: 6 (Spain U23)
Honours: Copa del Rey (2011/12)
Cristian Tello surprised many with his burst from obscurity to the Barcelona first team in Pep Guardiola's last season in charge at the Nou Camp. The winger had previously been offloaded to rivals RCD Espanyol after being deemed not good enough in the Barca academy, but the Catalans changed their mind and brought him back home in 2010. Injury problems for Guardiola saw Tello fast-tracked into the first team in early 2012, and the youngster started an impressive run of performances by opening the scoring against Real Socieded in only his second game for the senior side. A brace in the Champions League against Bayer Leverkusen soon followed, though he looked out of his depth in the league decider against Real at the end of last season. Tello's pace, trickery and finishing make him particularly effective against defenders that struggle for speed, but it's thought doubts still remain over whether he'll ever truly become the finished article, with his decision making sometimes questionable. That being said, having shown no great difficulty playing in both Europe and the domestic league, it could be worth taking a gamble from City's perspective, as Barcelona have shown in the past with players like Gerard Pique that they're not always the best judge of potential.
Which of these three could City benefit most from, or is another English destination more likely? Leave a comment and have your say...