Chelsea and Manchester City are among the clubs that are hoping to sign Barcelona youngster Ilaix Moriba, whose contract situation remains unresolved.
According to a report from Spanish publication Fichajes, Barcelona youngster Ilaix Moriba has emerged as a transfer target for Premier League heavyweights Chelsea and Manchester City, who have made a contract offer for the youngster, along with Serie A champions Juventus.
Moriba, 18, has come through the youth ranks at Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy and made his debut for the club’s B team in 2019. Having featured 22 times for them, the teenage midfielder earned his first-team breakthrough in January earlier this year in a Copa del Rey clash against Cornelia.
Since then, Moriba has been a regular for Ronald Koeman’s side, making appearances from the bench almost every game. Till date, the 18-year-old has managed 10 senior appearances for the Blaugrana impressing with a return of one goal and three assists. The teenager’s rise in prominence at Camp Nou, coupled with his contract situation, has led to a number of clubs taking an interest in him.
Indeed, Moriba’s current contract with Barcelona runs out at the end of the next season and a new deal is yet to be signed. This has alerted the likes of Manchester United, who are keen to sign him, along with Chelsea, Manchester City and Juventus.
The interest from Chelsea and Manchester City is not new, considering both clubs tried to sign Moriba back in 2019 before he signed a contract with Barcelona – something that his father corroborated in a recent interview. However, with his future once again a topic of speculation, the Premier League rivals are once again lining up to swoop him away from the Catalan giants.
Chelsea, as things stand, have a packed central midfield unit, with N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho battling for the starting spots while youngster Billy Gilmour is an option from the bench. In addition to that, the Blues have a host of midfielders such as Ross Barkley, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Conor Gallagher, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Marco van Ginkel out on loan.
However, the futures of the loanees once they return to Chelsea at the end of the season is far from certain. And with the potential availability of someone as young and gifted as Moriba, it is not surprising as to why the west London giants are interested.
Manchester City, meanwhile, did not replace David Silva following his exit last summer. And with Phil Foden transitioning to playing out on the wings, adding another central midfielder in the summer would make sense for Pep Guardiola & co., even more so considering that Ilkay Gundogan has entered into his thirties, making Moriba a viable target.
To that end, both Chelsea as well as Manchester City have offers ready to swoop the youngster away from Barcelona, with Juventus too said to be in the mix to sign him. Barcelona, however, remain confident of agreeing a renewal with Moriba and have decided to put their pursuit of Georginio Wijnaldum on hold, as a result.
It remains to be seen how this story unfolds in the coming weeks as the Premier League bigwigs wait in the wings to make a move for the talented teenager.