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Chelsea could have a free run at Barcelona starlet Ilaix Moriba next summer, with Juventus and Real Madrid ruled out of a move for him. Barcelona froze the 18-year-old out of pre-season amid the club’s struggles to tie him down to a new contract.
With Moriba’s camp unwilling to accept a pay cut to sign a new deal at Camp Nou, he’s likely to be sold this summer or leave for free in 2022.
He is considered one of La Masia’s most promising products in recent years and has drawn comparisons with Paul Pogba.
Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has expressed his disappointment over Moriba opting for money whilst still a teenager.
He said: “I spoke with Ilaix two or three weeks ago, more as a person than as Barca coach.
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“His situation is horrible because he is 18 years old, has been able to play for the first team and is the future of the club. And he is not playing, is not with us.
“I know the club wants to offer this player [a new contract]. And my advice [to him] is that money is not the most important thing; that is to play games.
‘But the player, and with his people, have decided differently. I am disappointed by this because I believe that in football there is more than contracts.
‘For someone of 18, the most important thing should not be money.”
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According to SPORT, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has been encouraged to snap Moriba up.
But he has distanced himself with a move due to a pact with his Barcelona counterpart, Joan Laporta.
The two La Liga giants’ involvement in the European Super League has made their relationships with Juventus and each other grow.
Real’s reluctance to sign Moriba could be great news for RB Leipzig and Chelsea, whom SPORT claim are potential destinations.
Chelsea have been searching for depth in midfield this summer, with Atletico Madrid’s Saul Niguez at the forefront of plans.
But if the Blues don’t acquire Saul this month, Moriba could become a real option either on a cut-price deal now or a free transfer next year.
Real’s unlikelihood to make a move will come as a big boost for Moriba’s suitors, and there will be many of them.
His future will undoubtedly be a big story that could run throughout the next 12 months.
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