Premier League • England

Chelsea facing transfer disaster as stalled negotiations see Barcelona join race for coveted star

Gabriel Moscardo of Corinthians

Chelsea target Gabriel Moscardo represents Corinthians in August 2023

Chelsea are at serious risk of missing out on Corinthians midfielder Gabriel Moscardo as Barcelona have joined the busy hunt for his signature, according to reports in Spain.

Moscardo is an 18-year-old defensive midfielder who has forced his way into the Corinthians first team, despite his tender age. And his impressive performances in Brazil’s Serie A have seen him become part of the Brazil U23 setup.

Moscardo clearly has the talent to succeed in a bigger league, such as the Premier League. And Chelsea have tried to give him that opportunity.

On August 31, transfer expert Fabrizio Romano revealed Chelsea had submitted an ‘official bid’ worth €21m (then £18m) to bring Moscardo to England. The offer did not include any add-ons or a sell-on clause, though it did include the chance for Moscardo to head back to Corinthians on loan until June 2024.

However, this opening proposal was swatted aside by Corinthians as they wanted more money to let their starlet leave.

On September 6, it was claimed that Chelsea had returned with an improved bid worth €30m (£25.6m) to sign the teenager. At that point, it was suggested that Moscardo was ‘one step away’ from joining Chelsea as the Blues were on the verge of reaching an agreement with Corinthians for his transfer.

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Barca were named as a potential transfer rival for Chelsea to deal with, but that move was labelled ‘unfeasible’ due to the financial constraints affecting Xavi’s side.

However, Chelsea have never managed to get Moscardo’s move to Stamford Bridge over the line. And this recently prompted English rivals Newcastle United to join the chase for him.

Barcelona rivalling Chelsea, Newcastle for midfielder

Spanish outlet Sport have now provided their take on the situation. In a big twist, they reveal that Barca have definitely now entered the hunt for the player.

Barca sporting director Deco has initiated contact with Corinthians to let them know that he would like to engineer a deal.

Deco has been encouraged by the fact that discussions between Chelsea and Corinthians have now stalled. It seems Chelsea were never willing to pay the £25.6m fee that was previously talked up.

Barca could have an ace up their sleeve, too. They have already confirmed the signing of Moscardo’s Brazil U23 team-mate Vitor Roque, who will remain on loan at Athletico Paranaense until the 2024-25 season gets underway.

The Blaugrana are hoping Roque can convince his compatriot Moscardo to join them over Chelsea or Newcastle.

Meanwhile, Chelsea look set to battle Arsenal and Tottenham for the capture of an Eredivisie attacker in January, as per reports.