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Premier League side West Ham United are plotting a shock move for Barcelona’s Jordi Alba

Barcelona full-back Jordi Alba is no longer a starter for the club and doesn’t feature prominently in manager Xavi’s plans. As a result, the Catalan club might look to offload him during the upcoming winter transfer window in order to crucially free up space on the wage bill.

West Ham United are said to be interested in acquiring the services of the Barcelona vice-captain during the January transfer window according to Spanish outlet Fichajes.

Alba is considered to be expendable by Barcelona board led by president Joan Laporta. In fact, they were also in talks with Inter Milan for his transfer on the final couple of days of the summer transfer window. However, a move didn’t materialise as Alba decided to stay put and continue with his childhood club.

Those links might re-emerge once again in January and a move to Serie A could also be in the works for Alba who has spent the majority of the season on the bench after getting displaced by young Alejandro Balde as well as new signing Marcos Alonso. Serie A league leaders Napoli are also another side who have recently been linked with the former Valencia left-back.

In the first half of the season so far, Alba has had to contend with the changing of times. La Masia product Balde has proven to be the biggest revelation of Barcelona’s season so far and his impressive form and quality means that the veteran has had to spend a lot of time on the sidelines. Alba has also had to compete with former Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso.

As a result, he has started in only 12 matches across all competitions this season and has assisted only twice. His game time could have been much less had Alonso not been made to deputize at centre-back in recent games due to Barcelona’s injury problems. The former Chelsea left-back is expected to compete with Balde down the left flank once Ronald Araujo returns from his injury.

Although he still has over 19 months on his contract with Barcelona which expires in the summer of 2024, Alba’s departure would lighten the wage bill considerably and allow the club to make signings while complying with Financial Fair Play.

Despite his current stature at the club level, Alba is expected to be one of the first names on the team sheet for Luis Enrique during Spain’s upcoming FIFA World Cup campaign in Qatar.