Barcelona are reportedly desperate to extend the contract of academy ace Ilaix Moriba as Ronald Koeman attempts to build his team around young players.

According to ESPN, Barcelona could be set for new contract talks with Ilaix Moriba. The club is determined to keep hold of the academy ace, who is regarded as one of the most talented players to come out of La Masia in recent years. In fact, his contract renewal could be a top priority for the Barcelona’s next president.

Moriba’s current contract at Barcelona expires in 2022 – a deal he signed in April 2019. But having made massive strides since, the player’s representatives are expecting the Catalans to table a new contract. The club will be dealt with a difficult task of convincing the young midfielder that Camp Nou is the ideal place for his development over the coming years.

Moriba currently plies his trade with Barcelona B, which is a step ahead for the 17-year-old as most players of his age would usually play for the Barcelona Under-19 team. It reflects the quality and the talent the midfielder has, with the player also having an astounding €100 million release clause embedded in his contract along with a hefty salary that was accidentally sent to Espanyol football club.

Barcelona do, however, deserve some credit for trying to establish their squad around young players this season. New manager Ronald Koeman has not hesitated in offering youngsters the chance to prove their credentials at the highest level of football, with Riqui Puig and Carles Alena the only ones struggling for minutes.

As such, players like Sergino Dest, Pedri, Francisco Trincao and Konrad de la Fuente have all become interesting first-team options for the Catalan giants while 18-year-old Ansu Fati is already one of Europe’s most talked-about players. It bodes well for La Masia that had lost its significance over the past decade due to Barca’s changed transfer policy.

For Moriba, he will be dealt with a difficult task of choosing between a resurgent Barcelona or a different club, where he will be more likely to receive first-team football. Barcelona, too, will be eager to tie the teenager down to a new contract instead of being mired in an Eric Garcia-like situation.

Fortunately for the Spaniard, he does have a lot of scope in the midfield department of the senior side. Sergio Busquets, in particular, has shown signs of deterioration in recent years while new signing Miralem Pjanic is also on the wrong side of 30. It leaves Frenkie de Jong as the only reliable long-term option, thus opening up an opportunity for Moriba to make a case in the first-team.

There is no doubt that the 17-year-old is one of the most talented players in the Barcelona academy, and given the way the club has embraced young players this season, a prolonged stay at the Camp Nou could be on the cards.

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