Barca line up Maxi loan
By Mark Kendall. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Barcelona are planning to send striker Maxi Lopez on a season-long loan to Nastic de Tarragona next term.
The 22-year-old Argentine has been only a bit-part player since joining Barca in January 2005 for é¼5.5 million.
His lack of playing time at Camp Nou has seen him linked with a move away and his agent has now confirmed that 13 European sides have made enquiries for the hit-man.
However, Barca still retain high hopes for the youngster and will only consider a loan move to help his progression.
Indeed, despite the likes of Real Betis and Villarreal showing an interest in the player, Barca favour sending him to unfashionable Nastic next season, a club based in neighbouring Tarragona who are all but certain to gain promotion to La Primera.
Barca are determined that Lopez will get regular first-team football and feel he is likely to blossom at Nastic where he is sure to be one of the star performers.
The player and his agent have yet to consent to the move, although representative Arturo Canales confirmed he would look for a switch that would help Lopez with his ultimate aim of becoming a success at Barca.
"We are surprised by the cache of Maxi in Europe," Canales told El Mundo Deportivo. "We already have received 13 offers from clubs in England, Germany and Spain.
"We want to find the best project for him but he is very happy in Spain.
"He wants to prepare himself to do well at Barca in the future - a club who have always treated him wonderfully."
However, one striker who does not look like departing Camp Nou is Santiago Ezquerro who Barca insist they want to keep.
Like Maxi, the forward has been a peripheral first-team figure since joining from Athletic Bilbao last summer and was even linked with a return to the Basque club.
But Barca director of sport Txiki Beguiristain insists the club will try to keep the 29-year-old to maintain competition for places within their striking stable.
"We have him because we like to have five or six attacking players," Beguiristain explained.
"It will not be easy for Santi to play, but he knows the situation."