Barcelona director uses Alexander Isak price tag to justify Vitor Roque transfer

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Newcastle United were also linked with Vitor Roque before Barcelona landed their man

Barcelona supremo Deco has cited Alexander Isak and Darwin Nunez to leap to Brazilian wonderkid Vitor Roque’s defence.

The 18-year-old completed his long-awaited move to the Catalans last month for a deal that could reach £60million depending on clauses. He was meant to arrive at the Nou Camp in the summer but, given Barca’s troubles, the switch was brought forward.

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Barcelona are third in the league - eight points behind leaders Real Madrid - and manager Xavi has already announced he will leave at the end of the season. Roque has been drafted in to help reignite their campaign as they aim to retain their La Liga title.

The former Athletico Paranaense striker is yet to start a game but came off the bench to bag goals against Osasuna - which turned out to be the winner - and Alaves. At the weekend versus Alaves, an eventful 13-minute cameo resulted in Roque netting the third goal before being sent off for two yellow cards.

As a player who came from the club that produced Bruno Guimaraes, reports had linked him with Newcastle United last year. St James’ Park has become a hotbed for South American talent in recent years, with Joelinton also developing into a fans’ favourite.

Supporters have draped the stadium in green and yellow flags to commemorate the Brazilian pair - but it was Barcelona who won the race for Roque. The transfer fee attracted criticism for a relative unknown without experience in European football.

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However, sporting director Deco, a Champions League winner at the Nou Camp in 2006, rubbished those suggestions - as well as his dismissal against Alaves. He has pointed towards the fees paid for young strikers like Nunez and Isak.

Toon chiefs stumped up a club-record fee worth around £63million to sign the Swede 18 months ago. Deco told Spanish reporters: “You killed the kid (Roqu) before he started playing. Liverpool signed Darwin Nunez for €90million and Newcastle paid €70million for Isak. The price analysis should be done in some time. It wasn’t too expensive, we paid (the) right money for a player we needed.”

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