Marlon Santos
Marlon Santos is currently on loan at Nice Getty

OGC Nice centre-back Marlon Santos still hopes to have a future at Barcelona despite admitting that his loan move to Ligue 1 includes an option for the French club to secure his services on a permanent basis.

Marlon, 22, was bought by Barcelona from Fluminense in the summer after he spent last season on loan with the Catalans' second team.

The Brazilian defender helped Gerard Lopez's side to secure promotion to the second tier of Spanish football and also made three appearances for the first team under Luis Enrique.

He was expected to be given a chance to establish himself under new manager Ernesto Valverde following the departure of Jeremy Mathieu to Sporting CP.

However, Barcelona instead surprisingly opted to send him to Nice on a two-year loan deal.

The La Liga giants revealed that they retain a recall option after the end of the first season, while Mundo Deportivo added that the deal also includes an option for Nice to make it permanent for a fee of around €20m (£17.5m, $23.6m).

That clause threw Marlon's long-term future at Barcelona into doubt, but the centre-back has now claimed that he still hopes for a chance to prove himself at the Nou Camp at some point.

Questioned by Cadena Ser if he plans to return to Barcelona one day, Marlon replied: "Yes, yes of course, but for the moment my mind is in Nice and I have to give my best for them.

"In the future if this [a return to Barcelona] happens I would welcome it with excitement as I did this summer when I decided to come here [to Nice]. I am happy and hopefully everything goes well. It's an exciting season. "

Marlon admitted that Nice do have an option to buy him permanently but refused to confirm whether it was set at €20m.

"I cannot speak about this. Sorry. It is true that there is an option for them to buy me but I do not know very well about it. I'm not sure [if it was set at €20m]. I also do not know [if Barcelona would need to pay something to recall me]. My agent and the club negotiated that."

Some reports in the summer also suggested that Barcelona offered Marlon to Nice in a part-exchange deal to bring Jean Michael Seri to the Nou Camp.

But Marlon said: "I dont know. Those are internal things [between the clubs]. The club spoke directly with my agent."