Football News

Carlos Vela “was really close” to joining Barcelona, Ernesto Valverde confirms

By Ben Green

Published: 12:29, 29 October 2019

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has revealed Los Angeles FC forward Carlos Vela came “really close” to joining his side on loan last January.  

The Spanish coach was in hot pursuit of a short-term striking option during the 2018/19 winter window, eventually landing Kevin-Prince Boateng.

Why were Barcelona in desperate need of a striker? Five things to know…

  • Valverde was in need of emergency cover up front following the sale of Munir to Sevilla.
  • He was left with Luis Suarez as his only fit, senior centre-forward.
  • As such Barca explored the possibility of signing a short-term No. 9.
  • Vela has impressed in the MLS since relocating from Real Sociedad in January 2018.
  • However, Valverde opted for Boateng but has since revealed ‘talks’ did transpire with the Mexican.

The former Ghana international joined on a six-month loan deal from Sassuolo, but having featured just four times, Barca opted against making his temporary stint a permanent one in the summer and he has since joined Fiorentina.

Valverde sought to bolster his frontline after the sale of Munir to Sevilla left him with just one senior striker available, in Luis Suarez, but according to the 55-year-old his emergency cover could have been in the form of Vela rather than Boateng.

“I remember that last year was an option that emerged and there was talk about it, but now we are not in the transfer market but we have the players we have,” Valverde told reporters.

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Vela: It was really close

The Los Angeles FC forward has also gone on record to explain just how close he came with a return to La Liga.

Vela has revealed he was enjoying the second month of his holiday when the phone rang from Catalonia, and despite telling his representative that he was keen on a move, Barca ultimately signed Boateng.

“It was really close,” Vela said.

“My second month for holidays, I was there with my piña colada and my agent called me to say ‘look, Barcelona is calling you. They want you to play for four months then you can go back to LA’.

“I said just say yes, I don’t care about the money or nothing. I’m going to start training tomorrow, give me two weeks to be a little bit fit.

“Barcelona, Real Madrid you can’t say no. … If it was only my choice, for sure, I’d take it.”