Paulinho capture pushes Man Utd, Chelsea target closer to exit

Date published: Tuesday 15th August 2017 10:49 - James Marshment

Barcelona’s signing of former Tottenham midfielder Paulinho has hugely ‘dented the confidence’ of Chelsea and Manchester United target Sergi Roberto and pushed him closer to the exit door.

The Barcelona midfielder has been tipped up as a target for both Premier League sides this summer with his £36million transfer release clause unlikely to deter either side from making a bid.

Roberto did not start Sunday’s Supercopa clash with Real Madrid despite ending last season as the club’s first-choice right-back and has received no assurances from new boss Ernesto Valverde that he is part of his plans for the season.

In fact, Spanish newspaper Sport claim that the Barcelona manager only ‘considers him a back-up midfielder and does not see him as a starting full-back’.

And the paper reckons the signing of former Tottenham flop Paulinho could well be the last straw for Sergi Roberto, who Sport claim ‘is particularly attracted to the prospect of playing in the Premier League’.

The 25-year-old Spain international has been with Barca since he joined the Masia in 2006, and played a starring role last season after Aleix Vidal went down with an injury.

Monaco and Juventus have also been mentioned as suitors, but a move to the Premier League appears to be his preference if reports from Spain are to be believed.

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