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Barcelona, Liverpool and Man Utd linked with standout Villarreal midfielder

The Yellows would drive a hard bargain in January

Sevilla FC v Villarreal CF - LaLiga EA Sports
Baena has been one of Villareal’s standout players for more than a year
Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

Villarreal star Alex Baena is reportedly attracting more attention ahead of the January transfer window.

Baena has been one of the standout players at Estadio de la Ceramica for around 18 months, truly coming to life under Quique Setién and remaining a key player since.

The attacking midfielder has since received recognition with the Spain national team, and he is set to play a starring role under new Villarreal boss Marcelino.

Though, according to Diario AS, there is now transfer interest from a number of clubs, including Barcelona, Liverpool and Manchester United.

Girona v Villarreal - Copa del Rey
Banea is a key man for Villarreal
Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Fortunately for Villarreal, Baena is tied down to a €60million release clause, and the Yellows are not likely to budge from that after selling Samu Chukwueze, Pau Torres and Nicolas Jackson last season.

Barcelona are unlikely to be in a position to pay that figure without a key sale, and the same applies to Manchester United due to FFP issues, at least in the winter window.

Liverpool would be a much greater concern, especially given they are likely to want an attacking midfielder. But Villarreal are still likely to play hardball, at least until the summer, when they would be more inclined to listen to the player’s wishes.