By Matt Farr
La Liga giants Barcelona are set to active the buy-back clause of Everton attacker Gerard Deulofeu this summer, according to a report.
The Telegraph claim that Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde is keen to see the 23-year-old winger take his career full circle, having soared through the youth ranks at their famous La Masia academy.
Deulofeu has struggled for regular opportunities under new Everton chief Ronald Koeman during the past 12 months, and is set to return to Barcelona in a £10.5million deal this summer.
He spent the second-half of last on loan at AC Milan, where he contributed four goals and three assists from 17 appearances in all competitions.
But it looked unlikely that the Spaniard would be set to return to Everton at the end of his spell to see out the remainder of his contract, after it was revealed that Barcelona had an option to bring him back to the Nou Camp.
The Spanish club had reluctantly permitted Deulofeu to sign permanently for Everton back in 2015, but ensured they had an option to re-sign him on the cheap by striking a buy-back clause into his contract.
Barcelona secretary Robert Fernandez had revealed to Catalan TV station TV3 in April that the club were “firmly considering” the option to activate his buy-back clause.
However, the latest report from the Telegraph claims that Barcelona will follow through, calling time on his Everton career after making just 75 appearances for the Merseyside outfit.
Football Insider verdict
It’s a real shame that Deulofeu’s Everton career hasn’t worked out, because he still has the potential to be a future star. Barcelona knew that, which is why they ensured they had a buy-back option when they sold him to the club several years ago. However, Everton seem happy to allow him to leave the club this summer, and a return to the Nou Camp remains the most likely option. But Koeman must find himself a similar player to bring into his side this summer, because although he struggled to show it consistently, Everton are losing a top player.
In other Everton transfer news, the club are reportedly set to move for this £18million-rated forward.