Barcelona intensify negotiations with Juventus for Pjanic – sources

Julien Laurens examines La Liga’s approach to resuming league play with clubs returning to training.
Gab Marcotti explains why he’s excited about the return of the Bundesliga, Serie A and La Liga.
Sid Lowe says no fans in La Liga stadiums until 2021 would seriously impact the summer transfer window.

Barcelona have intensified negotiations with Juventus over a deal to sign midfielder Miralem Pjanic this summer, sources have told ESPN.

Stream new episodes of ESPN FC Monday-Friday on ESPN+
Stream every episode of 30 for 30: Soccer Stories on ESPN+

Pjanic, 30, is open to a move to Camp Nou, according to high-ranking executives at the club, and talks are ongoing as Barcelona try to come up with a formula that will see Juventus open the door for the Bosnia international’s departure.

Barcelona are aware that any transfer hinges on Juventus accepting a player exchange deal. Sources explain the Catalan club had initially hoped to do a straight swap involving Brazil international Arthur Melo.

However, Arthur, 23, is reluctant to leave. He released a statement last week expressing his desire to stay put despite Barcelona’s openness to include him in the Pjanic deal.

The coronavirus pandemic is going to have major consequences on the transfer market and both Barcelona and Juventus have spoken about the need for creativity when signing players.

Barcelona vice president Jordi Cardoner has championed swap deals, while Juventus’ sporting director Fabio Paratici confirmed there have been talks with the Spanish club about possible player exchanges.

ESPN revealed last month that Arthur, Pjanic, Rodrigo Bentancur and Matthijs de Ligt had all been discussed during the conversations.

Cardoner has since told ESPN that Barca’s revenue has already been hit by between €120 and €140 million due to the coronavirus crisis, which has forced them to drastically alter their summer budget.

Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez remains their top target, so there is very little money available to put towards a deal for Pjanic. 

Barcelona, therefore, are relying on Juventus accepting a player — or players — in return. In addition to Arthur, midfielders Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal and Carles Alena have also been offered to the Italians, as well as centre-back Jean-Clair Todibo, who is currently on loan at Schalke 04.

Another player whose name has come up in negotiations is right-back Nelson Semedo. Barcelona fought hard to keep him last summer but are now open to using him to sweeten the deals for Pjanic or Martinez.

Pjanic, who joined Juventus from Roma for €32m in 2016, has been on Barcelona’s radar for several years. Prior to moving to Italy in 2011, he spent time in France, where he played for Lyon and Metz.