Gaizka Mendieta will return to S.S. Lazio from FC Barcelona after the Catalans decided against signing him.
Barcelona announced today that they would not be taking up the option they had to buy Mendieta in a €24m transfer. Instead they will send him back to Lazio when his one-year loan expires this month - and pay the Italian club €6m for his services as agreed in the original deal.
Barça technical director Txiki Begiristain said the club were unwilling to pay so much for the 29-year-old. Begiristain explained that "as well as the finances involved in any transfer", the player's salary had been "another factor" in the decision.
Former Valencia CF captain Mendieta joined Barcelona last summer and made 49 appearances - more than any other Blaugrana player - as the Catalans reached the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals and finished sixth in the Primera División. Now he heads back to Lazio, the club that signed him from Valencia in 2001.
No to Sorín
Barcelona will also reject the chance to sign Argentinian full-back Juan Pablo Sorín, who arrived on loan from Lazio in January. Brazilian club Cruzeiro EC hold the player's registration and would want a fee in the region of €8m to make the transfer permanent.