Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has ruled out a summer transfer for Sergi Roberto admid links of a Nou Camp exit.
He has been heavily linked with Manchester United and Chelsea after enjoying an impressive last campaign under former manager Luis Enrique, establishing himself as first-choice right-back.
The 25-year-old was expected to return to his favoured role in the middle of the park after Barca signed Nelson Semedo from Benfica.
However, he has failed to start a single game during Barcelona pre-season’s schedule, falling behind the likes of Andres Iniesta, Ivan Rakitic and Sergio Busquets in the pecking order.
Speaking about Roberto’s future, Valverde refused to sanction a move this summer.
“I absolutely count on Sergi Roberto. He’s a very important player for us. There’s no doubt about that,” he said.
“Should he start? It depends on the game, sometimes yes, sometimes no. He was important last season and he’s important for me as well. He’s versatile, he works hard in training, he can play in lots of different positions, I consider it an advantage to have a player like him.”
Mundo Deportivo reported that Jose Mourinho had launched a €40m (£36.4m, $46.8m) earlier this month as it matches the release clause inserted in his contract.
Our chances were improved as they signed Paulinho from Guangzhou Evergrande, however, Valverde has made it clear that Roberto features in his plans for the new season.