Barcelona are reportedly set to rekindle their interest in AFC Ajax midfield sensation Ryan Gravenberch, who is also a transfer target for Manchester United.
According to a report from Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona have set their sights on AFC Ajax’s teenage prodigy Ryan Gravenberch as they eye midfield reinforcements in the summer. The 18-year-old is also a transfer target for Premier League giants Manchester United.
Gravenberch has been with the AFC Ajax academy since 2010. The midfielder rose through the ranks rapidly and broke into the first-team in September 2018. Eased into the senior side by manager Erik ten Hag, the teenager has grown into a full-fledged member in the 2020/21 campaign during which he has produced a return of five goals and six assists from 45 games in all competitions, helping Ajax to the Eredivisie title.
Gravenberch’s rise to prominence at the Amsterdam Arena has not gone unnoticed, with Manchester United taking a keen interest in the midfielder. The Red Devils will be in need of reinforcements in the middle of the park heading into next season as Nemanja Matic is into his thirties and is being phased out gradually while Paul Pogba’s future still remains uncertain.
Indeed, the Frenchman will be entering the final year of his contract with Manchester United in a few weeks. And with Real Madrid still interested in signing him, there remains a chance he might not be at Old Trafford come next season. And with Ajax alumni Donny van de Beek not enjoying the best of the debut campaigns in England, a need for a new central midfielder could rise, explaining their interest in Gravenberch.
However, Manchester United are now set to face competition from Barcelona in pursuit of the 18-year-old. The Catalans have been long-term admirers of the Ajax sensation and had made an attempt to recruit him when he was just 15 years old, but a move had failed to materialise. Barcelona even tried to negotiate a deal for him when they were signing Frenkie de Jong from Ajax, but were unable to strike one.
Now that they are set to enter the market for midfield reinforcements, the Blaugrana have rekindled their interest in the teenager. As things stand, Ronald Koeman has Sergio Busquets, Miralem Pjanic, Pedri, Ilaix Moriba and the aforementioned de Jong as options in midfield, along with Riqui Puig.
However, Puig does not seemingly have a future at Barcelona under Koeman and could be either loaned out or sold permanently while Pjanic also sames a similar fate just a year after arriving at Camp Nou. And with Busquets in the final phase of his career, a new central midfielder like Gravenberch has the potential to be a pivotal addition at Camp Nou.
The Ajax ace is not the only player that Barcelona are tracking, with the likes of Eduardo Camavinga of Rennes also on their radars along with Sassuolo’s Manuel Locatelli and Mikel Merino of Real Betis among others. It remains to be seen who the Catalans end up signing come summer. For now, they are back in the hunt for Gravenberch.