Barcelona has had a strong start to the season in both La Liga and the Champions League, sitting atop their European group with six points and third in Spain’s premier division.
The disadvantage has been the significant injuries incurred by important players in the early months of the season. Ronald Araujo, Frenkie de Jong, Raphinha, Pedri, and Robert Lewandowski all face lengthy rehabilitation periods, putting Xavi’s side’s form at risk. The 2-2 tie with Granada before the international break demonstrated this.
The club and its supporters are already planning for reinforcements in the January transfer window. Vitor Roque, a Brazilian kid, was signed earlier this year, and there is optimism that he may give some depth by the end of the season arriving in Catalonia in early 2024.
When did Barcelona sign Vitor Roque?
Roque was a Barcelona signing from the 2023 summer transfer window, but finances got in the way of him joining the team straight away.
He cost Barcelona £30m from Athletico Paranaense but could not be registered due to the Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations imposed on the club by La Liga. He has instead remained in Brazil for the time being.
Xavi has been vocal about his squad’s need for reinforcements in attack given Robert Lewandowski is the only proper striker and can’t be expected to play every game, as his latest injury shows. There seems to be an agreement with all parties to try and speed the Roque arrival up.
His agent recently told RAC1: “Everything is ready for Vitor Roque to sign for Barcelona in January 2024. Everything is agreed with the clubs and with the player. Nobody has told me otherwise, so Roque will be in Barcelona’s sports project in January 2024.”
How can Barcelona secure Vitor Roque in January?
Essentially, Barcelona need to free up some financial space in their FFP restrictions to register Roque in January. If they don’t, he’ll have to wait again until the summer. Barcelona are working under specific constraints right now after the financial losses of recent years.
It is far from simple, however. While Barcelona want to register him, any more injuries to midfielders or defenders would mean those areas need to be addressed first. Also, they are keen to sort out Gavi’s contract situation, with the Spain international only registered due to some clever accounting.
Nonetheless, Barcelona have spoken to La Liga and worked out they need to save around £11m to £12m in salary to register Roque. That is with the assumption the £35m pending from Libero is received. They are investors in Bridgeburg Invest, the holding company of Barca Vision.
Selling a player is obviously the quickest way to acquire that money, but there is no clear candidate who would fetch that kind of fee upon departure.
Incidentally, Roque currently has an ankle injury and initial reports suggested he would be out for three months, but his agent says he is recovering ahead of schedule.
He added: “Roque recovers very well and will be ready in four weeks. He is a young, strong boy and we thank God everything has gone very well.”
Vitor Roque career stats
The 18-year-old has a very healthy amount of experience for a player of his age, having almost made 100 senior appearances in Brazil. The goals have come very regularly, too.