Thursday, January 20, 2022

Pjanic urges Morata and De Ligt caution amid Barcelona links

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 4 Jan 2022

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Barcelona midfielder Miralem Pjanic has warned Alvaro Morata and Matthijs de Ligt to think carefully before joining the Catalan club.

Morata is currently on loan at Juventus from Atletico Madrid, but reports suggest new Blaugrana head coach Xavi wants to further bolster his attack by signing the forward after already acquiring Ferran Torres.

Barca cannot register Torres, or any other potential signings, until they have offloaded players to negotiate salary-cap difficulties, though they have been linked in recent days to numerous attackers.

Club president Joan Laporta seemingly feels his LaLiga outfit are back in the market after telling the world that Barca have returned, with speculation even suggesting a move for Erling Haaland.

However, Pjanic, who is currently on loan at Besiktas, called for caution for any player considering joining his parent club.

He told Tuttosport: “Morata has had an amazing career so far. He played for big clubs like Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and Juventus. Sometimes players need motivation, but I would think twice before leaving a club where they feel good.

“Morata knows what to do, Barcelona hired Xavi, a coach who knows the club really well, I don’t know the details, but I’ve always heard that Morata was happy at Juventus even if when Barcelona call you always need to think about it.”

Pjanic endured a torrid time after leaving the Bianconeri in 2020 for Camp Nou, where he clashed with former Barca boss Ronald Koeman and was subsequently loaned to Besiktas at the start of this season.

He extended his encouragement to consider any potential move carefully to De Ligt, who has been a long-term target of Barca ever since coming through at his boyhood club Ajax.

After initially underwhelming in Turin following his €75million transfer, De Ligt has flourished under Massimiliano Allegri this campaign, ranking second among Juve defenders for minutes played in Serie A (1,293), while he last committed an error leading to goal in his debut 2019-20 season.

Indeed, among defenders to player 700 or more minutes in this year’s Serie A, no player has been dribbled past fewer times than De Ligt (just once) but his future remains in doubt.

The centre-back’s agent Mino Raiola revealed in December that his client would be open to new challenges away from the Allianz Stadium, yet Pjanic is unsure whether that is the best thing for De Ligt.

“De Ligt has three years left in his contract with Juventus, he has the right commitment, but I don’t know if Barcelona are interested,” he added.

“He made a great choice by deciding to join Juventus and work with Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, he is happy at Juventus and when you are happy, it’s better not to leave. We’ll see if he will have the motivation to leave.”

Juventus are set to have the pair available for their home clash with Napoli on Thursday, currently sitting fifth in the league – 12 points behind leaders Inter ahead of their first game of 2022.

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