Chelsea have reportedly jumped in late in pursuit of Barcelona prodigy Ilaix Moriba, who is also being pursued by Manchester City.

Spanish publication Sport are claiming another potential departure from Barcelona’s fabled La Masia setup, with Ilaix Moriba a target for several clubs. The young midfielder is being tailed by Premier League giants Manchester City and Chelsea. The Roman Abramovich-owned club is currently leading the race after swooping in late for Moriba.

Hailed in the report as the new Paul Pogba, Ilaix Moriba just turned 16 and is now eligible to sign a professional contract. While Barcelona are generally very passive in contract talks related to youngsters from their own academy, they seem to have learnt a lesson from the recent exits – Sergio Gomez and Joel Lopez to name a few.

Apart from the departures, Barcelona seem to have also been alerted to the potentiality of Moriba being poached by other European giants, with Juventus, Chelsea and Manchester City keeping a close eye on the youngster’s status. City have recently targeted Barcelona’s academy and the Spanish region in general to scour for young gems to add to their academy.

Manchester City were always thought to be favourites to land Moriba, with Pep Guardiola’s team managing to convince the player to join the defending Premier League champions. City’s interest sped up Barcelona’s process, with the club offering a convincing deal to the youngster along with the prospect of a straight dive into the Under-19 side.

But, the 16-year-old will not train with the Under-19s, till there is a conclusion to the entire saga, as per reports. In the latest development, Chelsea have jumped into the race and taken the lead. It is believed that Roman Abramovich gave the green light to negotiator Marina Granovskaia, with talks already being held between the player’s camp and Chelsea’s negotiating team.

The Blues have offered a deal that is financially and in terms of football, the best among the lot. Right now, it looks like Barcelona, despite all their stepped-up efforts to retain Moriba will have failed in the process of trying to convince the 16-year-old to commit to the Catalan giants.

The departure of another bright talent from Barcelona’s youth ranks is alarming for the club, with the entire process hinting that there is a genuine lack of definitive roadway into the first-team setup, which has been cited as a reason by majority of the youngsters that have decided to continue their career elsewhere.

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