By 90Min
December 30, 2017

La Liga leaders Barcelona could be planning something of a winter clear-out with as many as five first team stars linked with the exit door.

According to Catalan publication Sport, Rafinha, Gerard Deulofeu, Aleix Vidal, Arda Turan and Javier Mascherano are all considered possible departures, as Ousmane Dembele nears his return to full fitness and Ernesto Valverde plans to remove any dead weight from the squad ahead of the second half of the season.

Mascherano looks more than likely to be the first out the door, as his impending move to China awaits official confirmation.

Alex Caparros/GettyImages

"My stage here is ending," Mascherano said earlier this month. "It makes sense that after such a long time there's not much more I can do in this club. I'm not saying it with a heavy heart. I've had the best years of my career in this club. I'll never forget it.

"I'm one of those people that thinks that you have to know when is the right time to end a stage. I would like to close mine on the right time but it doesn't really depend on me."

According to Marca, Vidal is a target for Serie A heavyweights Roma and Inter, who are both keen on the 28-year-old, while the Nerazzurri are also thought be monitoring Deulofeu, who reportedly fears for his future in Catalonia amid on-going speculation about Philippe Coutinho.

While links with the likes of Coutinho, as well as other stars Arthur, Mesut Ozil and Yerry Mina have ramped up Valverde's intention to trim his squad down to size, the impending return of summer signing Dembele from injury also means first team chances will become fewer and further between for some.

The €105m 20-year-old attacker was sidelined in September with a hamstring injury but is likely to return to first team duties in January after over three months out.

You May Like