Barcelona legal dispute gifts Liverpool chance to sign £90m maestro for free as Man Utd ponder first move

Ousmane Dembele and Gavi

Liverpool are reportedly on red alert to potentially secure the transfer steal of the summer amid a worrying development at Barcelona – though Manchester United could look to beat them to the punch.

The LaLiga leaders are enjoying an excellent season under Xavi’s leadership. Their last-gasp 2-1 win over Real Madrid on Sunday leaves them a massive 12 points clear at the summit with just 12 games remaining. As such, they are expected to canter towards a long-awaited first domestic league title since 2018/19.

Off the pitch, however, the club continues to battle with a number of financial issues. And amid claims they need to raise €200m this summer, a number of high-profile stars could be sold.

Indeed, such has been their issues that is has led to issues registering new players. The situation blighted them last summer as new arrivals Franck Kessie, Andreas Christensen and Raphinha were made to endure nervous waits.

However, the situation continues to hit them hard. Their plight prevented them from bringing in any of their targets during the January window. And it seems any forthcoming summer business will be limited to free-transfer arrivals only.

Worse, though, looks like it is to come. And it seems they are at a major risk of losing one of their most important stars on a free.

Indeed, star teenager Gavi has enjoyed something of a meteoric rise since breaking through at Barcelona. He made 47 appearances last season, securing a place in Spain’s World Cup squad in the process.

Incredibly, the 18-year-old has made 17 appearances for his country and is closing in on 100 games for Barcelona.

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Barcelona see Gavi contract invalidated

Such has been his ascent to greatness that the £90m-rated star found himself the subject of reported interest from Manchester United and Liverpool last summer.

Barcelona, though, were quick to nip that in the bud, tying the player down to a new long-term contract earlier this season.

That appeared to end Liverpool and United’s hopes of luring the player to the north-west any time soon.

However, their hopes have been given a sudden lift. That came after Barcelona’s dispute with LaLiga over their financial issues led them blocking the registration of any new Blaugrana players.

And as a result of that, it was confirmed on January 24 that under La Liga rules the teenager could not be fully registered for the rest of 2022/23.

To that end, the player has now been ‘demoted’ in the eyes of LaLiga with The Athletic revealing he is now considered a youth team player only with his contract invalidated.

Barcelona, understandably, have disputed this with the authorities. However, their appeal has been waved away. And that means that while the 18-year-old can still play for Barca, it now ‘means a release clause allowing him to leave for nothing this summer now comes back into effect’.

Explaining in greater detail, The Athletic claims that if Barcelona don’t resolve their financial issues by June 30, 2023, Gavi will be allowed to walk away from the Nou Camp as a free agent. Furthermore, Barcelona can only change his status to that of a first-team player once the transfer window reopens.

And while the Spanish giants plan a further appeal, they remain in genuine fear of losing the star for nothing.

Liverpool, Man Utd keen to snatch Gavi on a free

As a result, Liverpool are reportedly keeping a very close watch on developments. And there are growing claims they may launch a fresh move to sign the talented teenager this summer.

Jurgen Klopp is desperate to bolster his midfield this summer and is a huge fan of Gavi’s talents. As such, he is reportedly imploring the Reds to pounce if there is a real chance of signing the teenager.

Indeed, the latest developments around Gavi did not escape the attentions of former Reds star Jose Enrique. And speaking on his Twitter page, he is urging Liverpool to take full advantage.

‘If this is true is an opportunity that we can’t let it go,’ he wrote. ‘If it were me I’d already be in contact with him and his family to try to make it happen. We need to use this kind of situation in our advantage.’

However, Manchester United cannot be ruled out of the equation either. Erik ten Hag is keen to add another midfielder to his squad this summer. As a resultm, they continue to be linked with his teammate Frenkie de Jong.

But he is also an admirer of Gavi too. And the possibility of signing the teen on a free will not escape his attention either.

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