Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has ruled out a summer exit for Sergi Roberto following recent reports linking the Spanish international with both Manchester United and Chelsea. Roberto enjoyed an impressive last campaign under former manager Luis Enrique, establishing himself as first-choice right-back following the departure of Dani Alves to Juventus.
The 25-year-old was expected to return to his favored role in the middle of the park in the new season after Barcelona signed a right-back specialist in the form of Nelson Semedo from Benfica.
But the Spaniard has failed to start a single game during Barcelona pre-season's schedule, with Andres Iniesta, Ivan Rakitic and Sergio Busquets having been picked ahead of him to form Valverde's midfield trident.
Earlier this month Mundo Deportivo reported that Jose Mourinho had launched a €40m (£36.4m, $46.8m) offer which matches his release clause in order to lure him to United.
Sport later claimed that Chelsea were also ready to join the race for his services after Antonio Conte had identified the versatile midfielder as an ideal fit for his 3-5-2 formation.
Those reports have resurfaced in recent days after Barcelona bolstered their midfield further with the addition of Paulinho from Guangzhou Evergrande in a €40m deal.
However, Valverde has made it clear that Roberto features in his plans for the new season, even though the Spanish international started on the bench during the 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup first-leg.
"I absolutely count on Sergi Roberto. He's a very important player for us. There's no doubt about that," Valverde said in the press conference ahead of the Barcelona trip to Real Madrid on Wednesday night. "Should he start? It depends on the game, sometimes yes, sometimes no. He was important last season and he's important for me as well. He's versatile, he works hard in training, he can play in lots of different positions, I consider it an advantage to have a player like him."
Arda Turan's future at the club remains uncertain after the Turkey international had been left out of Valverde's squad for the two games against Real. AS report that Turan's agent, Ahmet Bulut, was set to travel to Barcelona to speed up his exit from the Nou Camp, with both Galatasaray and United monitoring the situation.
And asked whether he believes that Turan can resurrect his career at Barcelona, Valverde admitted:"I don't know. I understand he is a player who came to the club following a big investment and that he has always been an important player for all his teams, but it all depends on his performance and what the manager considers best: Nnow I'm going with other players. With a squad of 25 players, plus the goalkeepers, it's not easy to choose."
Barcelona, meanwhile, are trying to complete the signings of Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool and Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund in order to fill the gap left by Neymar's departure to Paris Saint-Germain.
Valverde failed to provide any update on both deals but did confirm that the club are still working on bolstering his squad before the end of the transfer window.
"I said before the market is open until the end of August and we are open to making changes to the squad," Valverde added. "But we need to get the best squad possible because we have such important challenges ahead of us."