Martino hints at Dos Santos loan switch
Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino has suggested that he will not stand in the way of midfielder Jonathan Dos Santos joining Real Sociedad on loan.
Dos Santos, 23, was close to joining the Basque side this summer but remained at the Camp Nou after discussing his future with Martino.
La Real then signed Esteban Granero on loan from Queens Park Rangers, but he almost immediately suffered a serious knee injury which has ruled him out for six months.
This development, along with Dos Santos having barely featured so far this season for Barca, has brought up the possibility of an emergency loan move, and Catalunya Radio reported on Monday evening that Txuri-urdin president Jokin Aperribay is keen to do a deal.
Martino told reporters ahead of Tuesday evening’s La Liga clash between the two sides at the Camp Nou that he could also potentially see a move taking place.
“That is a matter we talked about at the start of the season,” he said. “We talked with Jonathan and that came up again with Granero’s injury. Until now there is no news on that. I would like to see what his opinion on this is. I am just talking about this now, nothing new has happened. But I do not rule out it happening.”
While the transfer window has closed, La Real may be able to bring in an emergency midfielder on loan, given an injury crisis which sees them currently without Gorka Elustondo and David Zurutuza, as well as Granero. Former Barca defender Andreu Fontas joined Real Mallorca on loan last October after they suffered a similar succession of injuries mid-campaign.
Txuri-urdin coach Jagoba Arrasate, though, said in his pre-game press conference that no decision has yet been made about bringing in an extra midfielder.
“We have not spoken about the matter,” Arrasate said. “We will evaluate [signing someone], but at the moment no name has come out. We showed interest in Dos Santos, and he is a player who would fit with us, but it is difficult to sign players at the moment. We will focus on what we have.”
In early September, Dos Santos himself said that he would have left the Camp Nou for the Estadio Anoeta during the summer’s transfer window, only for Martino to convince him to stay at the last moment.
“I almost had both feet outside of Barca, I had everything almost finalised with Real Sociedad, but in the end with Tata’s arrival I stayed,” he said.
The La Masia graduate had featured as a substitute in Barca’s 1-0 win at Malaga a few weeks’ previously, and said he remained confident he would get more chances and would eventually become an important player at the Camp Nou.
“You need a lot of patience to succeed at Barca,” Dos Santos said. “Players start to stand out at 24 or 25. I can play here, I have the game for it, but I need to work and learn from my team-mates. My dream is to succeed at the best team in the world, it is difficult to make it into the first team. But I do not want to drop that dream.”