Vitor Roque, Barcelona-bound
Xavi insists that he wants the player on board asap - as long as Barça remain within Financial Fair Play rules. The Paranaense joins on a 60 million euro deal.
Xavi confirmed on Monday that Vitor Roque could still join Barça in January - despite the player facing time out after suffering a serious injury. The Brazilian forward suffered a Grade II sprain to the ligament in his right ankle in Paranaense’s league meeting with Internacional and is expected to be sidelined for the next two months. The good news is that Roque will not require surgery.
“He will undergo conservative treatment to ensure that he makes a full recovery,” the Barça coach confirmed. The Paranaense forward signed a long-term contract with Barcelona (until June 2031) and was originally expected to arrive in June. However, Xavi is putting pressure on Sports Director Deco to free up salary space and with that in mind, the idea is for Roque to arrive for the the second half of the season, once he has recovered.
Athletico Paranaense assume that Roque, who is the Brasileirão’s second top scorer on 11 goals (two behind Botafogo’s Tiquinho Soares), will not play again in 2023. The season ends on 3 December - when the player will be nearing the end of his rehabilitation. Even he is back training, there is no guarantee that he will play another game for Paranaense.
Barça meanwhile, feel that that it is time to start planning for Tigrinho’s arrival. Firstly, because they would have more control over his recovery and avoid the unnecessary risk of him suffering a new injury at his current club. And secondly, because it is a sporting priority. Xavi wants a striker to compete with Lewandowski - and also to have someone who can allow the Pole to rest, as there is no other centre-forward in the squad.
At 35, Lewy cannot be expected to play every minute of every game and Vitor Roque can cover for him when he needs a breather. As of the moment, there has been no official word on when the Brazilian could arrive - or confirmation of whether there is a penalty clause written into the player’s contract for compensation should he fall injured in the intervening months. It is suspected that there is some kind of clause, but for now, it has not been revealed.