The conveyor belt seemingly linking the Nou Camp with the Britannia Stadium looks set to be fired up once again, with Stoke City boss Mark Hughes keen on another Barcelona starlet.
The Potters manager has already added Marc Muniesa, Bojan and Moha to his squad since taking over from Tony Pulis and now he has his sights set on forward Adama Traore, according to reports.
Manchester United, Everton and Southampton are all rumoured to have expressed interest in the 19-year-old but reports in Mundo Deportivo suggest it is Stoke, alongside Manchester City and Ajax, that are heading the queue.
The player’s agent says Ajax would be the preferred destination, if his £10.5m release clause is met, with manager Frank de Boer a big fan of the attacker.
However, the Eredivisie side’s director of football Marc Ovemars has been rebuffed by Barca chiefs in his attempts to open negotiations.
Hughes ‘reputation as a former Barca star may pale compared to Overmars and De Boer but his recent dealings with the club show he has a solid business relationship with the Catalan giants.
This and the fact that Traore would be able to link up with some familiar faces at Stoke means the Potters should not be ruled out despite being arguably he smallest club in the running for his signature.
Traore joined the Barca set-up at the age of eight and has played 63 times for the reserve side but having played for the first team just four times could be tempted by a move away from his hometown club.
Hughes has done a fantastic job shaking off Stoke’s image as a physical and direct side and will be well placed to build on last year’s ninth place finish if the slew of players coming in from Europe’s top sides continues.
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