Valencia CF goalkeeper Diego Alves is flattered by speculation linking him with a move to FC Barcelona, with Victor Valdes all but set to leave the Camp Nou next summer, Sky Sports understands.
Earlier this season, Valdes, 31, revealed he will not sign a new contract with the Spanish champions.
The Blaugrana have been linked with a number of Europe’s top goalkeepers, including the likes of Marc-André ter Stegen and Pepe Reina, since Valdes’ shocking announcement, but increasing speculation has suggested Brazil and Valencia shot-stopper Diego Alves could replace the 31-year-old at the Camp Nou.
Alves, whose current contract at the Mestalla expires in the summer of 2015, joined Valencia from Unión Deportiva Almería for an undisclosed fee in 2011 and has made a total of 64 competitive appearances for Los Che.
“Who wouldn’t like to play for Barcelona? It’s the team that are on top,” said Alves. “I am sorry that Valdes is leaving, he is a big loss.
“I see him as the goalkeeper who is in exceptional form; he is one of the best in the world at the moment.
“A move to Barcelona doesn’t depend on me, there is always speculation mentioning my name, but nothing official. I’ll keep doing my job at Valencia, with whom I have a contract until 2015.”
The Brazil international, 28, has kept one clean sheet in five league appearances this season, and is expected to be in between the sticks against Granada at the Estadio Nuevo Los Cármenes on Wednesday.
Lingard happy at Birmingham
Manchester United winger Jesse Lingard is hoping to extend his initial one-month loan deal at St Andrew’s, according to Sky Sports.
Lingard, 20, enjoyed tremendous success on United’s pre-season tour of Australia and the Far East, but ultimately failed to break into the first-team due to the sheer number of attackers ahead of him in the pecking order at Old Trafford.
The England Under-21 international, who made five appearances while on loan at Leicester City last term, scored a four-goal hat-trick on his debut against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.
“It’s a dream come true. To get four goals and three points on my debut is massive,” said Lingard.
“I had a lot of pressure on my shoulders but as soon as the first goal went in I got more confident.
“You can’t beat first-team football, so hopefully they will let me stay for the season.”
Lingard is 40/1 to score a hat-trick against League Cup holders Swansea City on Wednesday.