No decision yet on Deulofeu future - Martino
10 December 2013, 20:18
Madrid - Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino has not ruled out the possibility that 19-year-old winger Gerard Deulofeu could spend another season on loan at Premier League side Everton.
Deulofeu joined the Toffees on a season-long loan deal at the start of the current campaign and has begun to make his presence felt in England with two goals in his last three games, including a stunning strike which salvaged a 1-1 draw at leaders Arsenal on Sunday.
After that match Everton boss Roberto Martinez hinted that the Spanish under-21 international could be allowed to spend another season on loan should he be surplus to requirements at Barcelona.
However, whilst Martino insisted he had been tracking Deulofeu's progress, he said it was too early to say where he would be playing his football next season.
"He is showing the quality he has as a footballer and Barcelona obviously have an obligation to keep an eye on those players that are loaned out.
"If you ask me do I think he is a great player I would say yes, but there is no decision yet with respect to the players on loan (for next season.)"
Of more immediate concern to Martino is his side's Champions League clash with Celtic at the Camp Nou on Wednesday.
Barca need just a point to be guaranteed of finishing top of Group H, whilst the Scottish champions cannot even qualify for the knockout stages of the Europa League.
However, Martino doesn't want another slack European performance like the one his side produced in losing 2-1 to Ajax two weeks ago.
"We need to finish first in the group and we need a good performance tomorrow. For us all the games are have consequences, much more negative consequences than positive ones.
"The situation is the similar to the one we had before the Ajax match and as we saw that game had a lot of negative reaction so we have to be attentive.
"I imagine it will be a game where we have a lot of possession 30 metres from the Celtic goal so we have to be precise and quick in our movement of the ball and try to prevent them from counter-attacking."
Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta return to Martino's 20-man squad having been left out of Friday's 4-1 win over Cartagena in the Copa de Rey.
Neymar is also expected to start having been left on the bench at the weekend, but Cesc Fabregas joins the injured Lionel Messi, Victor Valdes and Dani Alves on the sidelines due to suspension.