Manchester United are reportedly set to face defeat in their pursuit of teenage prodigy Ilaix Moriba, who is ready to sign a new contract and stay with Barcelona.
According to a report from La Vanguardia, Barcelona youth star Ilaix Moriba is set to turn down the overtures of Premier League bigwigs Manchester United in favour of a prolonged stay at Camp Nou.
Moriba is a product of Barcelona’s famed La Masia youth academy. The youngster made his first-team debut in the season gone by under Ronald Koeman and enjoyed quite the rise of prominence during the latter stages of the campaign. Indeed, the 19-year-old saw plenty of game time late on in the 2020/21 season, more than senior players like Miralem Pjanic and Riqui Puig as well.
Moriba finished the campaign with 14 appearances in La Liga (4 starts), contributing one goal and three assists in the process. Heading into the summer, though, the teenage prodigy’s future had been cast into doubts as he was entering the final year of his contract with Barcelona. This situation had prompted interest from several clubs across Europe, including Manchester United.
Manchester United have a stockpile of central midfielders as things stand, with Paul Pogba, Donny van de Beek, Scott McTominay, Fred and Nemanja Matic all options. At the same time, youngster James Garner has also returned from his loan spell. However, Pogba’s future at the club remains uncertain as he is set to enter the last twelve months of his deal, whereas van de Beek could also be moved on after a disappointing debut season in England.
With Nemanja Matic not getting any younger either, there could be a case made for the arrival of a new central midfielder, which would explain their interest in Moriba. However, given his lack of experience, the Barcelona midfielder would more likely have been seen as one for the future.
Nevertheless, any move for the 19-year-old seems off the table now, as per the report. Moriba has decided to snub the interest from Manchester United and pen a new long-term contract with Barcelona instead. The teenager will be penning a three or four-year deal and potentially increase his release clause, which currently stands at €100 million.
With Barcelona being snubbed by Georginio Wijnaldum in favour of PSG, it may open up the door for a prominent first-team role for Moriba at Camp Nou come next season. However, the Catalans are still looking at several other midfielders, including Inter Milan’s Nicolo Barella.