Barcelona have reportedly made an approach for AFC Ajax’s teenage midfield prodigy Ryan Gravenberch at the behest of manager Ronald Koeman.
According to a report from Spanish publication Fichajes, Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman is keen on signing 19-year-old midfielder Ryan Gravenberch from AFC Ajax this summer and has informed the club of his wishes. The Catalan giants, to that end, have made a cursory approach for the Dutch sensation.
Gravenberch is a product of the Ajax yout academy. The teenager made his first-team debut for the Dutch Eredivisie champions in 2018, as a 16-year-old, and has gradually grown into a vital cog in the middle of the park. The 2020/21 campaign saw the midfielder flourish endlessly, as he made 47 appearances in all competitions, bagging five goals and six assists.
On the back of his form for Ajax, Gravenberch made his debut for the Netherlands national team in March earlier this year and has since gone on to accrue five caps for the Oranje. The 19-year-old’s progress with the club and country hasn’t gone unnoticed with a number of top clubs across Europe registering an interest in him.
Indeed, Gravenberch has been attracting interest from the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool as well as Barcelona. The interest from the Catalan giants is mainly driven by manager Ronald Koeman, who is looking to bolster his squad this summer and has his sights set on talent from his native, Netherlands and add to the Dutch contingent of Frenkie de Jong, Sergino Dest and possibly Memphis Depay, who is close to signing.
Barcelona are in need of a new midfielder as doubts remain over the future of Miralem Pjanic who had a forgettable debut campaign in Camp Nou. And with Sergio Busquets not getting any younger, it would only be prudent for the Blaugrana to put in a succession plan in place for when the Spanish international decides to move on or hang up his boots.
Gravenberch, to that end, is being viewed as a long-term replacement for Busquets by Barcelona. Any move for the 19-year-old though would be very complicated at the moment. He is contracted with Ajax till the summer of 2023, with the Dutch giants not keen on selling him. So, the Catalans will have to meet his release clause, which stands at €50 million.
That, however, is currently out of reach for Barcelona, as per the report. It is no secret that the Blaugrana are going through financial difficulties, which has resulted in them looking for bargain deals in the market. So, shelling out €50 million for Gravenberch when they have Ilaix Moriba and Nico Gonzalez coming through wouldn’t be seen as a prudent move.
Nevertheless, at the request of Koeman, Barcelona have made a mere approach for the Dutchman, but there is nothing beyond that as things stand. It remains to be seen if the Cules do decide to make a more concerted push for Gravenberch in the weeks to come.