Estudiantes president Juan Sebastian Veron confirmed talks have taken place with Vissel Kobe captain Andres Iniesta over a switch to the Argentine club.
Spanish great Iniesta has been linked to a reunion with former Barcelona team-mate Javier Mascherano at Estudiantes.
The 35-year-old Iniesta – contracted to Vissel until 2021 – has called Japan home since leaving La Liga giants Barca in 2018.
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Amid growing links to Estudiantes – where ex-Barca defender Gabriel Milito is head coach – after Mascherano arrived from Chinese Super League side Hebei China Fortuna, Veron insisted negotiations are yet to take place but tentative talks have begun.
“Today, we can’t say that there are negotiations with Iniesta,” Veron told La Oral Deportiva . “[But] yes, there are talks.
“[Trying to sign] Iniesta is something that people will not forget about, regardless of whether it materialises or not.”
Veron added: “Having Javier in the club is an important fact, not only for Estudiantes but also for Argentine football, for all that he is as a person and a professional.”
Iniesta has scored 10 goals since joining Vissel, who also boast Lukas Podolski, Thomas Vermaelen and Sergi Samper, while David Villa retired at the end of the season.
Vissel Kobe finished the latest J-League season in eighth, 23 points shy of champions Yokohama F.Marinos.
Estudiantes, meanwhile, are currently 13th in the Primera Division having won seven of their 16 league games to date.
Iniesta confirmed earlier this year his intention to move into coaching once he hangs up his boots, but stressed he’s not quite ready to stop playing.
“The idea of becoming a coach is on my mind,” the midfielder told TyC Sports. “For a long time I didn’t think about it because right now the thing I think about the most is playing football. But in the not too distant future I think the desire to coach will be stronger.
“I would like to continue playing football. There is no greater joy than going out onto the field and training every day. If you’re happy, you can do that for longer. Hopefully it continues like this. We’ll see how far I can go.”