Reports in Spain claim Premier League giants Manchester City and Chelsea are ready to step up their interest in Barcelona youngster Ilaix Moriba.
The 18-year-old spent a decade in the Barca youth setup after moving from Espanyol in 2010. He graduated to the Catalans’ B team in 2019 and was a standout player during 22 appearances. The LaLiga giants’ parlous financial situation has seen a number of youngsters gaining unexpected first-team experience.
And Moriba was among the youth stars to gain some senior action in 2020-2021. He made four starts among 14 league outings, scoring his first goal in a 2-0 triumph over Osasuna on March 6.
The club has high hopes for the former Spain Under-17 star but problems over his contract are mounting. The starlet’s deal will expire next summer and Barca want him to pen fresh terms.
They are said to have offered him a five-year deal but he is refusing to sign in the dotted line. Manchester United have already been linked while it is thought that City and Chelsea also hold an interest.
Mundo Deportivo are reporting that the Blues and Citizens are ‘willing to push hard’ for his signature this summer. And, with the Nou Camp outfit ‘running out of patience’, the duo have been given encouragement.
Barcelona have responded by leaving him out of their pre-season first-team squad. It is thought he has a buyout clause of €100m. However, that would be negotiable as he enters the final 12 months of his deal.
Finances driving Moriba exit
Although most clubs throughout the footballing world are under pressure financially, Barca are known to be struggling more than most. They can no longer pay vast sums of money to fringe players who may not contribute that much during the campaign.
Moriba falls into that category and his wage demands are said to be too high. The English trio would have no trouble in that department and his head may be turned towards the Premier League.
Born in the West African nation of Guinea, Moriba has been likened to United and France midfielder Paul Pogba. He has been tipped for big things but might need to switch club to progress.
It is open to debate as to whether he would see that much game time at the Premier League trio. They are all busy recruiting and it may be that the teenager is one for the future.