Gabriel ‘Gabigol’ Barbosa warned his future “doesn’t depend” on him, as Santos ask Inter for another loan deal.
The 22-year-old Brazilian international is currently back at the club that the Nerazzurri paid £26.55M (€29M) to secure his services in 2016.
“There are still nine games to go this season and my future is very complicated,” he told GloboEsporte.
“Everyone knows the desire I had to return, but it does not depend on me. I have a contract with Inter and we will have to solve the issue with them.”
Gabigol’s frustrations at being overlooked by Inter, where he scored just one goal and didn’t make a single Serie A start, saw him loaned out to Portuguese side Benfica for the 2017-18 campaign. His form didn’t improve there and in January of this year, he returned to his homeland for the duration of the Brazilian season.
On December 31, his loan deal will expire. “If I have to leave,” he explained, “then I want to make sure Santos qualifies for the Copa Libertadores.”
Gabigol has scored 15 goals in 35 appearances in all competitions for Santos since his arrival and Santos President José Carlos Peres would certainly like to keep him for another season.
“Bringing him back here the first time was difficult,” Peres told GloboEsporte. “Now that he’s doing well and scoring goals, Inter could stiffen their position.
“We want a new annual loan. We have already contacted Inter and we know it will be difficult. They bought the player on a four-year deal, so they would be practically giving us half his contract, and this is where things get complicated.
“They paid $88M dollars, which works out at 22m a year. If he remains with us for another 12 months, then that’s another 22m lost.”