Contract escalation sparks Man Utd, Chelsea scramble for Barcelona talent

Ilaix Moriba and Luis Suarez, Barcelona v Atletico Madrid, 2021

An escalation in the stand-off between Barcelona and one of their players has handed Man Utd, Chelsea and Man City a golden opportunity, per multiple reports.

The financial strife Barcelona are currently experiencing has been well documented. The club have incurred massive debts with the Covid-19 pandemic exacerbating their woes. As such, there are very few current first teamers who would not be available for transfer for the right price this summer.

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The club were heavily reliant on graduates from their fabled youth academy last season. Oscar Mingueza, Riqui Puig and Pedri all saw significant game time throughout the campaign.

Teenagers Ansu Fati and Ilaix Moriba also saw more action than they might have expected, and safeguarding this crop of prospects’ futures is key to Barcelona’s hopes of success.

However, reports have now surfaced over a stand-off with central midfielder Moriba.

The 18-year-old – frequently compared to Paul Pogba – has reportedly been removed from Ronald Koeman’s first team. As such, he is being forced to train with the B team. The move stems from his reluctance to sign a new deal with talks deemed to have ‘stalled’.

That is per both the Sun and Mirror (citing Spanish outlet Sport), and al three publications reveal Moriba is unhappy with Barcelona’s decision.

Ilaix Moriba Barcelona

Moriba is described as being ‘upset’ by their actions, though that is not likely to soften the club’s stance.

The Mirror article claims the situation is simple from Barcelona’s point of view. Either Moriba signs the new deal on their terms or he will remain banished from the senior set-up.

Moriba has just 12 months remaining on his current deal and could therefore be available for a fraction of his true value this summer.

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Man Utd were previously reported to be in the frame after initial news of the situation surfaced in June.

However, it is Chelsea and Man City that appear to be leading the chase. Per the reports, both clubs would be willing to ‘double’ his current salary with a €6million (£5.14m)-per-year offer.

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PSG’s Pogba lure ignored by Mbappe

Meanwhile, Kylian Mbappe has come to a decision over his next club after the potential lure of playing alongside Man Utd midfield Paul Pogba at PSG was explored, per a report.

The striker has just 12 months remaining on his deal at PSG. As such, speculation over a headline-grabbing exit has begun to swirl.

Now, the Mirror (citing Spanish publication Marca) reveal that the striker is ‘set to reject’ a new contract with PSG. Furthermore, they claim his mind is ‘already made up’ over where he will move next. Per the article, Real Madrid are in his sights.

That will come as a bitter blow to PSG who the article claim were hoping to land Man Utd midfielder Pogba with one eye on convincing Mbappe to stay.

However, their pursuit of the midfielder – who also has just one year remaining on his contract – is deemed a non-factor in Mbappe’s thinking.

READ MORE: Chelsea showing ‘strong interest’ in asset never given fair chance at Man Utd under Solskjaer