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UPDATE 1-Barcelona winger Cuenca joins Ajax on loan deal

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

* Agrees loan move after return from knee surgery

* Ajax have no option to buy him, Barcelona say (Adds details) ROTTERDAM, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Barcelona winger Isaac Cuenca, who has recently returned from a lengthy layoff after a knee operation, will play the rest of the season on loan at Ajax Amsterdam, the Dutch champions said on Thursday.

The promising 21-year-old, brought into the Barca first team by former coach Pep Guardiola last season before having surgery on his right knee at the end of the campaign, will join Ajax on a five-month deal, the club said.

"Cuenca is a welcome reinforcement as we still are active in three competitions and not always steady with our wingers," Ajax coach Frank de Boer told reporters after the 4-0 Dutch cup quarter-final win over Vitesse Arnhem.

Barca confirmed the deal in a statement on their website (www.fcbarcelona.es) and said Ajax did not have an option to buy the player at the end of his loan stint.

A product of Barca's youth academy, Cuenca was given the all-clear by the La Liga club's medical staff on Jan. 21 and has yet to play a match since his return.

He scored four goals in 30 appearances last season. (Reporting by Theo Ruizenaar, additional reporting by Iain Rogers in Madrid; Editing by Mark Meadows; mark.meadows@thomsonreuters.com; +44 20 7542 7933; Reuters Messaging:; mark.meadows.reuters.com@reuters.net)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130131/update-1-barcelona-winger-cuenca-joins-ajax-loan-deal