Chelsea have reportedly formally registered their interest in Barcelona’s teenage full-back Alejandro Balde, who is also a target for AC Milan.
According to a report from Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo, as relayed by Sport Witness, Premier League bigwigs Chelsea have set their sights on Barcelona youngster Alejandro Balde and have made contact to explore the possibility of a transfer.
Balde, 17, is a product of Barcelona’s famed La Masia youth academy. A modern-day attacking left-back, the teenager is known for his power and attacking intent and has, to date, made 16 appearances for the Catalans’ B team, registering a solitary assist.
Despite his young age, Balde is held in the highest of regards at Barcelona, and there have even been talks within the club to promote him as an understudy to Jordi Alba in the first-team, following the departure of Junior Firpo to Leeds United. And, it seems like Balde’s admirers are not just limited to Catalonia, with Chelsea and AC Milan also taking a keen interest in the 17-year-old.
The report states that Milan had already made an approach for Balde last summer with an offer of €8 million, which was shot down by Barcelona. But they seem to have rekindled their interest in the youngster who has represented Spain at the Under-16, Under-17 and Under-18 levels so far.
As for Chelsea, the Blues’ pursuit of Balde is relatively new, and they, too, have formally registered their interest in the teenage prodigy. The Blues could be looking at a potential cull in the left-back slot this summer, with Emerson Palmieri out of favour and expected to leave, while Marcos Alonso is also facing an uncertain future, with the Spaniard being linked to Barcelona as well recently.
Even if Alonso stays put to provide cover for first-choice left-back Ben Chilwell, someone like Balde could be one for the future for Chelsea, given as the former Fiorentina defender will soon be turning 31.
However, Barcelona have no intention whatsoever to let go of Balde this summer. In fact, alerted by the approach from Chelsea, the Blaugrana have decided to tie down the teenager with a new long-term contract and have already held talks with his representatives.
It now remains to be seen if Balde, whose contract expires next year, pens a new deal with Barcelona or refuses to sign an extension like fellow academy man Ilaix Moriba, which could push him closer to the exit doors.