Barcelona are considering a summer move for Lazio’s Spanish star Luis Alberto, as Ernesto Valverde’s side prepare for life after Andres Iniesta.
According to Gazzetta dello Sport (via the Mirror), Alberto – who spent three years on the books at Liverpool – is a surprise target for Barcelona.
Alberto also spent a season in Barça’s B team during the 2012/13 season, but after a few difficult years following his unsuccessful Anfield switch and subsequent loan moves, has grown into a leading man in Italy with Lazio.
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The 25-year-old midfielder has scored 11 times and assisted 12 this season in Serie A, as Lazio hunt down a Champions League place.
According to the report, Lazio will demand €40m to sell Alberto, who earned his first senior cap for Spain in a 5-0 friendly win over Costa Rica in November.
That price tag is precisely ten times what Liverpool sold the Spanish star for in 2016 and Alberto’s development over the last couple of years will have had many at Anfield scratching their heads wondering what has happened to the player who made just 12 forgettable outings for the Reds during the 2013/14 season.
While Alberto’s stock has never been higher, Barcelona’s purchase of another former Liverpool man in Philippe Coutinho in January may negate the need for an Iniesta replacement, while several reports point out that Barça are more concerned with selling this summer than acquiring more marquee names in midfield.
Andre Gomes and Denis Suarez could be sold, as the club are likely to focus on tying down Samuel Umtiti to a new deal and pursuing number one target Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid.