Barcelona are reportedly considering putting Andre Gomes on the market only one year after bringing him from Valencia as a marquee addition. Mundo Deportivo claims that the original idea was to keep the midfielder but some members at the Nou Camp are now willing to let him go in order to fund the arrivals of other key targets like Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin or Paris Saint Germain star Marco Verratti.
Gomes, 23, was linked with Chelsea, Manchester United, Juventus and Real Madrid during the last summer transfer window after garnering a reputation as one of the most promising creative midfielders around Europe during his time at Valencia.
Reports at the time suggested that Real Madrid were ready to win the race but Barcelona eventually beat them after identifying him as the long-term replacement for Andres Iniesta.
The Catalans didn't hesitate to make Gomes their most expensive signing of the summer by paying €35m (£29.5m, $38m) plus €20m in add-ons for his services – while agreeing also to add an extra fee of €15m should the midfielder win the Ballon d'Or at the Nou Camp more than once.
However, the 23-year-old has since failed to make the impact expected in his debut season at Barcelona, even being booed by his own crowd in some games.
Luis Enrique recently admitted that Gomes was yet to prove his worth at Barcelona, but backed him to turnaround the situation and be a success in the long term.
"I can and will say that 1,000 times over, even if he is criticised a lot. He can play in different positions. For me he is a very special player. He is only using 30 or 40 per cent of his capacity," the Barcelona boss recently admitted. Imagine him at 100 per cent. He needs to improve, he needs to improve emotionally but he's at the best possible club to do that. He is on the right path to do it. He's very demanding, very responsible and he has quality."
Barcelona sporting director Robert Fernandez has also demanded patience from the fans, suggesting that Gomes was going to have at least another chance to prove himself next season.
"I know it's hard to adapt to a club like Barça and I saw that with my own eyes with top-level players like [Michael] Laudrup and [Ronald] Koeman. It was tough for them at first, but you know how it went after that. [Samuel] Umtiti, for example, has got off on a good foot, in exchange, Andre Gomes hasn't. We signed players for the future and we have a lot of confidence in them," Fernandez said.
However, Mundo Deportivo says that some members of the Barcelona board believe that the Catalans should sell Gomes if they can recoup the €35m plus add-ons they invested to bring him from Valencia last summer.
The Catalan publication says that Barcelona face a big dilemma and suggests that the next manager – likely to be Ernesto Valverde – may have the last word, pointing out that Luis Enrique was eventually the main defender of the Portuguese international arrival to the Nou Camp.
Mundo Deportivo claims that being represented by super agent Jorge Mendes could also facilitate a big-money deal as Juventus and two clubs from Premier League clubs are still interested in luring him away from Barcelona ahead of the 2017-2018 campaign.
Barcelona have a restricted budget to bolster the squad and the sale of Gomes could help them to generate the funds to sign two priority targets like Arsenal's Bellerin and PSG's Verratti.