One of the main tasks for Barcelona during the summer transfer window will be to offload the players that are not in the manager’s plans for the future.
That includes deadwood from the current roster like Clement Lenglet, Samuel Umtiti and Martin Braithwaite, among others, while players who are set to return from their loan spells such as Miralem Pjanic and Alex Collado.
Now, another name is set to be added to the list as SPORT reports that Rey Manaj is set to return to Barcelona after spending the 2021/22 campaign out on loan at Spezia.
The 25-year-old has been with the Blaugrana since January 2020 when he arrived from Albacete and went on to feature 31 times for the B team, scoring 16 goals in the process.
However, he never made a first-team appearance for Barcelona despite impressing during the pre-season last year. Manaj was loaned out to Spezia in the summer of 2021, who were happy to take him on, thanks to history in Italy with Cremonese, Pescara, Pisa and Inter Milan.
But Manaj failed to make the requisite impact during his time with Spezia, managing a paltry total of five goals from 30 Serie A appearances.
The loan agreement between Barcelona and Spezia untitled the latter to make Manaj’s signing permanent for a fee of €2.7 million. The clause was a non-mandatory option and as per the report from SPORT, the Italian side has decided not to take up that option.
It means that Manaj will now be back at Barça on July 1, and with just a year left on his current contract with the Catalans, director Mateu Alemany will need to find a new destination for him in the summer.
Barcelona already have Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ferran Torres and Memphis Depay as options up top and are planning to add Robert Lewandowski to the roster as well. So, there is simply no space for Manaj on the roster and it remains to be seen where he ends up this summer.