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Barca fury at 'lunatic' claim

Barcelona general manager Joan Oliver has hit out at Zlatan Ibrahimovic's agent for claiming Pep Guardiola "would have to go to a mental hospital" if he wanted to sell the Swedish striker.

Mino Raiola also suggested the club could sell Lionel Messi or Pedro instead if they needed the money.

Oliver today responded, saying: "We didn't like Mr Mino Raiola's statements at all, especially the tone.

"The reference to the coach is in very bad taste.

"And the club doesn't need money. We don't want to sell."

Oliver did leave the door open to a possible move away from the club for Ibrahimovic, though.

"If things get too complicated, there'll be no option but to sell the player," he said. "However, that's not the intention of the club at this moment."

Ibrahimovic's performances, particularly in Barcelona's Champions League elimination by Inter Milan, were criticised in some quarters this season.

Oliver also admitted there was a possibility that Yaya Toure, who has been linked with a move to Arsenal, could leave the Nou Camp.

He said: "His case is similar to Ibrahimovic, although Toure has been with the club for longer.

"We are not interested in offloading either of these players but obviously if Toure isn't happy we won't force him to stay.

"What we won't do is go against our own interests. If he wants to stay we'll be delighted.

"If not then the solution must be good for the club, not just the player."

Meanwhile Barcelona president Joan Laporta says he has not given up hope of signing Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas this summer.

DIFFICULT

Fabregas informed Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger earlier this month of his desire to leave the Emirates Stadium, and the Spanish champions are hopeful of tying up a deal despite admitting they face difficult negotiations with Arsenal.

"We are working on it," said Laporta. "We will try to achieve his signature and if we don't get there with time, at least we will have opened a path.

"The possibility is always there but the other part (Arsenal) has to defend their interests and perhaps has a different strategy.

"We are trying to find a halfway point for both sides to agree."


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