Juventus CEO Fabio Paratici has admitted the club were in talks with Barcelona in the summer over a potential swap deal involving Federico Bernardeschi and Ivan Rakitic, but says there was never 'concrete interest' in making the move happen.
Rakitic has enjoyed something of a Barca revival of late, starting five of their last six La Liga matches, but his situation was wildly different in the summer. Heading into the penultimate year of his contract, he was widely expected to leave the club, and a move to Juventus that would have seen Bernardeschi go the other way was touted as one of his options.
It was reported at the time that the move collapsed due to Juventus' demands for an additional fee, and Juventus retained the player - who hasn't started in Serie A since mid-December.
Contrary to popular belief, however, Paratici has now said that the swap deal never advanced beyond its conceptual stages.
He also admitted that Juve are in talks with the Spanish giants over potential moves for two young players; B-team midfielder Matheus Pereira, and an unnamed striker, who is reported by Time24 to be 19-year-old Venezuelan Alejandro Marqués.
“We are talking to Barcelona for two very promising young players," Paratici said, as quoted by Football Italia. "Matheus Pereira who has a very technical, Brazilian style of football who needs a different environment to truly give his best.
“We’ve identified a more Italian-style hitman in the Barcelona squad, so it makes sense for all concerned.
Juventus will sign the striker Alejandro Marques (19) from Barcelona in a swap deal that include Matheus Pereira (21), who will join Barca. (Sky) pic.twitter.com/2kQ4XAwNCa— KhaledAlnouss (@KhaledAlnouss2) January 9, 2020
“The Rakitic-Bernardeschi idea was floated over the summer as part of a general discussion about players, but there was never concrete interest from either side.”
It's unclear what role Bernardeschi will have to play in the remainder of Juventus' title challenge after falling out of favour in recent weeks. He was once again benched for his side's Sunday night clash with Parma, and doesn't seem to fit within Maurizio Sarri's system, but a January departure remains unlikely due to the Old Lady's unwillingness to upset the balance of the squad mid-season.