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U.S. youngster Gaines moves to Darmstadt


Transfer Rater: Van Dijk to Liverpool


Luis Suarez apology praised by Barca

Luis Suarez exited the World Cup with his reputation once again in tatters, but despite the Uruguayan's behaviour on the pitch he is still linked to a move to Barcelona.

Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu has praised Luis Suarez for admitting his mistake in biting Giorgio Chiellini while also confirming that offers have been made for Alexis Sanchez.

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Suarez, 27, is moving closer to a transfer to the Spanish side, with sources telling ESPN FC that a club delegation is meeting with Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre in London on Wednesday to open talks.

The momentum of the transfer stalled briefly when the Uruguay international bit Italy defender Chiellini while playing at the World Cup and was then banned by FIFA from all football activity for four months.

However, after Suarez published an apology for the incident on Monday -- welcomed by Barca sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta -- the deal appears to be back on.

Blaugrana chief Bartomeu told a news conference at the Camp Nou that such contrition was a positive sign and would be helpful for Suarez's career -- wherever he ends up playing next season.

"[Suarez] is a Liverpool player and I can say little about him," Bartomeu said. "He plays for a rival team. But what I can say, as a football person, is that apologising has been to his credit, because when you make a mistake you should apologise.

"It is good what he has done, because it helps football. It is the responsibility of all of us that Luis Suarez, at Liverpool or wherever he wants to be, continues his career. To admit errors is an important step."

Asked directly about the reported meeting to discuss the transfer with Liverpool, Bartomeu declined to give a straight answer.

"For weeks and months we have made many journeys," he said. "But we cannot explain them. We try and do things with the most discretion possible."

Bartomeu then went on to reveal that "many clubs" had made offers for Sanchez, who is reportedly of interest to Liverpool, as well as Arsenal, Juventus and Atletico Madrid.

"We have received offers for Alexis," Bartomeu said. "He is a player who is on the market and people are looking at him. He had a magnificent last season. We are counting on him for next year. But it is also true that many clubs have called us with proposals to sign him."

Barca have already signed goalkeepers Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Claudio Bravo this summer, along with midfielder Ivan Rakitic.

Asked if further players -- such as a much-needed centre-back -- would also arrive, Bartomeu said talks were ongoing on many fronts.

"We have many names, we have the players, and we are negotiating," he said. "In a World Cup year, clubs wait and I believe that many issues will speed up once the competition is over, or when some teams are eliminated.

"I am not involved in the negotiations, but they are working on names which excite me and which are agreed with [coach] Luis Enrique. Zubi [Zubizarreta] has spoken about centre-halves, but we cannot reveal the names."

A player who could leave the club this summer is long-serving playmaker Xavi Hernandez, 34, who had been linked with a move to Qatari club Al Arabi.

Bartomeu followed Zubizarreta's line in suggesting the player himself would decide his own future, while adding that it may lie away from the Camp Nou for now.

"I have read a lot about Xavi in many different media outlets," he said. "We will respect whatever he decides. He has a place in our team and he has a contract with us. The day he leaves he will pass into history as the best player ever at this institution.

"He has earned the right to decide himself, and whatever he chooses to do we will help him. Xavi will return to the club within a few years because we will have in him a great coach."

This summer's big squad changes may be linked to the two-year transfer ban imposed on the club last April, which has now been suspended pending an appeal.

Bartomeu again suggested the basis for the punishment had been malicious meddling from elsewhere, while saying he was sure it would be lifted once FIFA realised no rules had been broken.

"We have suspicions about who initiated the process with FIFA," he said. "But before speaking about who that was, I would like to resolve the issue with FIFA. Then we will go to the end with everything. On Aug. 19, FIFA has called us for a meeting to explain what has happened."


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