Barcelona midfielder Sergi Samper is said to be on the verge of joining Las Palmas on a season-long loan. Catalan publication Mundo Deportivo says that the 22-year-old midfielder is expected to fill the gap left by the departure of Roque Mesa to Swansea as the agreement between the clubs is 'imminent'.
Samper was long considered as the long-term replacement for Sergio Busquets after having progressed through the youth ranks of the Catalan side since the age of six.
The Spaniard signed a new deal at the Nou Camp last summer until 2019 before being dispatched on loan to Granada to continue his development. However, his long-term future at the club has been thrown into question after he struggled to make the impact expected at the Andalucian side, starting only 13 La Liga games last season as his side was relegated to the second tier of Spanish football.
It was said that Valverde was still going to give him a chance to serve as Busquet's back-up this season as the Barcelona boss has no other specialist holding midfielder. But last week the boss revealed that he has instead recommended Samper move on loan again after the club completed the signing of Paulinho from Guangzhou Evergrande.
"I talked with Samper three or four days ago," the Barcelona boss said in a press conference ahead of the Spanish Super Cup second leg against Real Madrid on Wednesday (16 August). "He has returned from a complicated loan spell [at Granada] where he didn't play as much as both him and the club wanted. Here he is going to have less minutes and I spoke with him [over a new loan move] with the idea that he could keep progressing and be an important player in the future."
Betis, Alaves and Girona have all been since linked with his services but Mundo Deportivo claims that the player is finally set to move to Las Palmas.
The Canary Island side have been looking for a player with Samper's profile since losing Mesa to Swansea and the agreement between the clubs is said to only be a matter of time. Earlier this week Las Palmas president Miguel Ángel Ramírez claimed they were in advanced negotiations to sign an unnamed young midfielder.
Samper is not the only player expected to leave the club in the coming days as Valverde currently has 27 first-team players in his ranks.
Barcelona were tipped to make a huge clear-out this summer but Neymar and Cristian Tello have been the only two players sold by the club with less than 10 days remaining to the end of the transfer window on 31 August.
Jeremy Mathieu and Jordi Masip have also been released as free-agents while they have signed four players in the form of Nelson Semedo, Gerard Deulofeu, Marlon Santos and Paulinho.