Barcelona technical secretary Robert Fernandez has confirmed that the club will try to re-sign Gerard Deulofeu from Everton in the coming summer transfer window following the winger impressive loan spell at AC Milan. Meanwhile, Aleix Vidal's agent also expects his client to continue at the Nou Camp in the 2017-2018 despite admitting that the right-back was close to join Inter Milan during the January market.
Deulofeu, 23, earned comparisons with Lionel Messi in the 2012-2013 season after scoring 18 goals for the Barcelona B team in the second division of Spanish football.
However, the winger failed to cope with those expectations during his successive loan spells at Everton and Sevilla and in the summer of 2015 the club decided to sell him to the Toffees.
Deulofeu showed glimpses of his talent under Roberto Martinez at Goodison Park but was sent on loan to AC Milan in January after falling out of favour for Ronald Koeman.
The move has paid off as the former Barcelona starlet has since managed to resurrect his career in Italy, scoring two goals and grabbing three appearances in 12 appearances for the Serie A giants.
Barcelona technical secretary Robert Fernandez last month revealed that the club still have a €12m (£10.2m, $12.8m) option to re-sign Deulofeu due to a buy-back clause inserted in his sale to Everton in the summer of 2015.
"We have a chance to get Deulofeu back and that's good," Fernandez said then. "I am very happy with what is happening. He was not playing at Everton but he has been called up by the Spanish national team following his good start at Milan. We will see. That's good news. The good news is that we have the option of paying €12m to re-sign him."
And the Barcelona chief has now all but confirmed that the club will exercise that option ahead of the 2017-2018 campaign.
Asked on weekend by TV3 whether the Everton loanee could return to Barcelona ahead of the coming season, Fernandez confirmed: "Yes, yes, absolutely. He (could play at Barcelona next season)."
The deal now looks only a matter of time after Barcelona already did a similar move last summer to bring Denis Suarez back to the Nou Camp from Villarreal. Yet, as it was the case then, the player will have the final say as recent reports in Spain suggests that Deulofeu also wants guarantees over his role at the club before making the final decision.
Meanwhile, Barcelona are also reported interested in signing a new right-back amid recurrent links with Arsenal ace Hector Bellerin.
Such a move was expected to put Vidal's future at the Nou Camp under scrutiny after the former Sevilla wing-back was already close to leaving Barcelona in January due to the lack of playing time under Luis Enrique.
Vidal, however, finally stayed at Barcelona and managed to turnaround the situation until he suffered a serious ankle injury in February which ruled him out for the remaining of the season.
The player's agent, Graziano Battistini, has now admitted that the Spaniard did consider a move away from Barcelona in January but he now expects him to recover from his injury and prove his worth at the Nou Camp in the 2017-2018 season
"Before the injury, it looked that he had reached a certain harmony with the manager. I think Barcelona will think twice before letting him go (in the summer). I believe they won't consider appropriate to sell him," Battistini said to TodoMercadoWeb while confirmed that Inter Milan expressed interest in his services in January.
Barcelona also have the versatile Sergi Roberto to cover the right-back but, if Vidal stays, he could return to his original role in the middle of the park.