Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham have been dealt a blow in their alleged pursuit of Sergi Roberto after the midfielder made clear he has no plans to leave Barcelona.
The 22-year-old has just 12 months remaining on his existing contract with the Spanish club, and has attracted admiring glances from a host of Premier League suitors.
New Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal has been credited with an interest in bringing the talented youngster to Old Trafford this summer, where he could've linked up with compatriots David De Gea, Juan Mata and the recently acquired Ander Herrera.
Arsene Wenger has also been mooted as a fan of Roberto, as he seeks midfield reinforcements at the Emirates Stadium ahead of the 2014/15 campaign. A defensive minded player remains Arsenal's top priority, though, so it's not clear just how serious the Gunners were about luring him to north London.
Tottenham complete the trio of English clubs reportedly courting the Barcelona man's signature, with Mauricio Pochettino also on the lookout for new players to improve his recently inherited squad at White Hart Lane.
However, any hopes Spurs, Arsenal or Manchester United might have held of signing 'the next Xavi' are now tarnished following recent comments made by Roberto, intimating his desire to remain at Camp Nou and fight for his place in new manager Luis Enrique's team.
"Not at any time have I thought about leaving because this is where I want to spend my whole career," he is quoted saying by London 24. "A new coach makes you keen to train. We’re all starting from zero.
"We all have to give it one hundred per cent. And the youngsters a little bit more."
Luis Enrique appointment
The appointment of Enrique - who left Celta Vigo to succeed Gerardo Martino at Barcelona - might well have strengthened Roberto's position as he looks to cement a place in the first-team, having worked with the club legend during his previous spell coaching the B team.
“He was vital for me," he explained. "But now we’re in the first team, with even better quality players. I have to show that he can trust me like he did back then…Luis Enrique knows the reserves.
“We have signed players from other clubs out of necessity, but the philosophy is still the same."
The recent departure of Cesc Fabregas to Chelsea and doubts surrounding the future of Xavi means that there could be a midfield opening for the Spain U21 international in the forthcoming season.
Roberto will be looking to get his head down and impress in pre-season, in an attempt to force his way into first-team reckoning both in La Liga and the Champions League.
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