Everton have suffered a massive blow in their hopes of keeping Gerard Deulofeu at Goodison Park after reports emerged suggesting the player is moving back to Barcelona.
The 20-year-old moved to Everton on loan from Barca in July 2013 and reports from Catalonia now indicate that former Barcelona star Luis Enrique, the favourite to take over at the Camp Nou this summer, will make Deulofeu's return a priority.
Enrique was reportedly seen holding talks with Barca's sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta on Monday, strengthening speculation that he will succeed Tata Martino, who is likely to be dismissed after a disappointing season.
Sport reports that the current Celta Vigo coach - who made 300 appearances for the Catalan club, scoring 109 goal in his eight-year playing career - has started to trace the outlines of his team at Barca, and Deulofeu is integral to the project.
The young winger has played a key role in Everton's success this season and Goodison boss Roberto Martinez - who has also been linked with the Barca job - would love to keep him on Merseyside for another year.
In a recent interview with IBTimes UK, Deulofeu expressed his desire to return to the Camp Nou at the end of the season.
"I would really like to be at Barca because it is the best team in the world. I would like to be in the first team, but also I know it is very complicated as there are very good players. We have to wait."
The young attacking star - who has played 24 league matches and scored three goals this season - is considered the best talent to emerge from Barca's academy since Lionel Messi.