Premier League • England

Ajax star tells club chiefs he’s desperate for Barcelona move in bitter blow to Chelsea

Nicolas Tagliafico

Ajax left-back Nicolas Tagliafico has reportedly told club chiefs that he wants to secure a dream move to Catalan giants Barcelona.

Barca sporting director Mateu Alemany is said to be working around the clock to seal some new additions to Xavi’s squad in the final days of the January transfer window, and Chelsea target Tagliafico could be one of them.

The LaLiga outfit want more competition for Jordi Alba on the left side of the defence. To that end, Tagliafico has emerged as a top candidate, particularly because he comes fairly cheap.

According to ESPN, the Argentina international has told Ajax that his heart is set on Barcelona.

With that being the case, a proposed switch to Stamford Bridge for the 29-year-old now looks a non-starter.

Thomas Tuchel has been eyeing up Tagliafico to cover for Ben Chilwell’s absence. The England defender is ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee ligament injury.

Tagliafico also comes cheap at around £6million. However, the report adds that Barca want an initial loan with a purchase option in the summer.

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Ajax boss Eric ten Hag is reportedly not in favour of the player’s exit, but his employers have a different view. The Dutch giants do, however, prefer a permanent move over a loan.

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Barca to offer swap deal

Meanwhile, it’s also reported that Barcelona could offer La Masia graduate Alejandro Balde as part of the transfer.

That would effectively make it a swap deal, with Ajax then receiving the younger of the two left-backs.

Xavi is of the opinion that Balde is not quite ready to step into Alba’s boots, if required, while Tagliafico is ready-made for the role.

Barca now have a week to try and complete a deal, with the window shutting on January 31.

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