Barca to sell Saviola
By Lucas Brown
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Barcelona are set to sell Javier Saviola when he returns from Monaco.Barcelona are set to sell Javier Saviola when he returns from Monaco next month, despite promising the striker a place at the club before he left last summer.
Barca president Joan Laporta told the former River Plate forward that he would be part of the Barca squad if he went out on loan for a season to Monaco, due to the club having too many non-EU players.
But the Catalan club's president has been told by coach Frank Rijkaard that Saviola does not fit into his plans.
The Dutchman wants a 22-man squad for the next campaign and would prefer to trade Saviola and Juan Roman Riquelme as a package if it would help land one of the world's top strikers.
Riquelme has spent two successful seasons on loan at Villarreal, but the Yellow Submarines are unable to sign him permanently due to his wage demands and he is set to return to Camp Nou in June.
If the pair are unable to be offloaded together, then Saviola will be the first to be shown the door with Liverpool, Valencia, Deportivo La Coruna and Atletico Madrid all having registered their interest.
Barcelona have already secured the services of midfielder Mark Van Bommel from PSV Eindhoven and forward Santi Ezquerro from Athletic Bilbao on free transfers.
Now they are in the market for a striker and Arsenal's Thierry Henry has been strongly linked with a move to the Catalan giants.
Barca have offered Gerard a new deal, but it is thought to be well below the player's expectations and he is now set to leave the club.
The deal on offer suggested that Rijkaard sees the midfielder as a back-up player and he is not prepared to accept another season of watching from the sidelines.
Monaco have expressed an interest in taking him on board in the summer and Gerard is due to travel to the principality for talks after Barcelona's Far East tour in June.