BARCELONA (Reuters) – Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has urged unsettled defender Martin Montoya to stay and fight for his place after the player’s agent said he aims to leave in January having attracted plenty of interest from other European clubs.
The 23-year-old signed a new contract earlier this year believing that he was in line to replace Dani Alves as the club’s regular right back, but his chances have been limited and he now appears to be fourth in the pecking order.
Brazilian Douglas played in the King’s Cup win on Wednesday over lower league Huesca, while utility man Adriano also seems to be ahead of Montoya in Luis Enrique’s plans.
The Barca coach, however, denies that he has given up on the home-grown talent, who has been linked in media reports to several Premier League clubs including Liverpool.
“I know Martin very well and it is difficult for me to rule out players and so imagine what it would be like for a player that I had with me in the youth team,” Luis Enrique told a news conference.
“I have only words of praise for his effort and willingness. The situation can change in any moment and he is working hard for that to happen so all I can do is try to motivate him to keep doing what he is doing and make it difficult for his team mates.
“I don’t want to talk about the possibility of players leaving.”
Montoya’s agent Juan de Dios Carrasco, however, told Spanish radio on Friday that the player has had enough.
“Montoya will leave, 100 per cent, in the winter transfer window,” he told Radio Marca.
“At the moment we are trying to find the best club for Martin’s career. In Germany, England and Italy there are clubs that are studying his position.”