Luis Enrique: Denis Suarez 'interesting' amid Barcelona January transfer plans
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has suggested the January window could see comings and goings at the Camp Nou, while saying that reported target and Villarreal attacking midfielder Denis Suarez is an "interesting player."
Barca have been linked with moves in the January transfer market with Celta Vigo's former Barca-B attacker Nolito a long-time target of Luis Enrique, although reports have claimed that the club cannot currently afford the 29-year-old's €19 million release clause.
Denis Suarez of Villarreal has also been linked in recent days, for a move which could net Manchester City up to €8m should the former Barca starlet and Sevilla loanee establish himself back at the Camp Nou.
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Luis Enrique told his pregame news conference ahead of Wednesday's game against Real Betis that Spain under-21 playmaker Suarez had impressed him, saying: "[Suarez] has been doing well. At Sevilla [on loan last season] he did not get playing time, and at Villarreal he is doing very well. He could be an interesting player."
New arrivals in January could mean some players are moved on from the Camp Nou, with Luis Enrique suggesting: "That is a possibility. Everything is under consideration. If there are players coming in, others could leave. You can always improve the squad."
Blaugrana talisman Lionel Messi is set to make his 500th Barca appearance in Wednesday's game. However, the 28-year-old may not start having been at Sunday's Globe Soccer Awards in Dubai after spending Christmas in Argentina with his extended family, and having been troubled by a liver problem while in Japan at the Club World Cup just before the winter break.
Either way, a repeat of the row 12 months ago when Messi was benched for Barca's first game back looks unlikely, according to Luis Enrique.
"That is the fear you always have when you come back from a few days off," he said. "But they have all arrived very fresh, motivated and ambitious. That makes me very optimistic."
Barca spent the winter break top of the Primera Division on head-to-head record with Atletico Madrid, and just two points ahead of Real Madrid even with all the current turmoil at the Bernabeu.
Barca's lead would be larger but for draws against Deportivo La Coruna and Valencia after conceding late equalisers in their previous two La Liga games.
Luis Enrique warned his players not to relax against 12th placed Betis, who have lost on each of their last six visits to the Camp Nou, conceding 22 times and scoring just seven.
"The players know the importance of each La Liga game," he said. "In the last games we have dropped points -- at Valencia were the better team and against Deportivo we relaxed. We know it will be a key game and we need to get the victory. We have the chance to move away from our rivals in the table. It will be an attractive game and is motivating for us."
The Asturian coach said he had not been surprised by Barca immediately releasing new youth team signing Sergi Guardiola -- of no relation to Pep -- when previous tweets the youngster had sent came to light.
"It did not surprise me," Luis Enrique added. "There were other similar cases recently. Everything you leave on the internet stays there and you must be very careful about what you publish.