Chelsea move to front of queue for disrespected Barcelona star as transfer progress made

Tuchel thrilled with goal for Lukaku on second Chelsea debut

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Chelsea are reportedly leading the race to sign Barcelona wonderkid Ilaix Moriba after it was claimed he was in London over the weekend. The 18-year-old is also a target for RB Leipzig, and reports from Spain claim he could be on the move before the transfer window shuts as he feels “disrespected” by the La Liga giants.

Creative midfielder Moriba is considered one of the most exciting prospects to come through at Barcelona in recent years.

But the teenager has entered the final year of his contract at the Nou Camp, and reports from Spain earlier this month said he was ‘not willing to accept’ the current terms being offered by the club over an extension.

It was claimed that Barca were willing to make their attacking midfielder endure ‘a year in the stands’ if he did not sign a contract extension this summer.

And according to latest reports, no further progress has been made, with Chelsea now in pole position to land him after Leipzig had a €6million (£5m) bid rejected.

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According to Mundo Deportivo, Moriba and Barcelona are currently ‘very far apart’ in negotiations to extend the youngster’s deal.

The Spanish outlet says Barca are ready to sell him if they receive an offer of €20m (£17m), having grown tired of his agents’ demands.

Meanwhile, Moriba’s representatives feel the teenager has been ‘disrespected’ by the threat not to play him, and deny that he wants to leave for more money.

The report claims the Catalan club have rejected an initial offer from Leipzig, who did not want to go above €6m given he could be available for free next summer.

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And Leipzig could be set to lose out, with Mundo Deportivo reporting that Moriba was in London over the weekend.

The report doesn’t say that he was in the capital for talks with Chelsea, but points out that the Stamford Bridge side have a good relationship with Barcelona, and might find the €20m price tag less of a problem than Leipzig.

Ilaix’s creative talents in an attacking midfield role would seem to be perfect for Chelsea as Thomas Tuchel looks to build on last season’s Champions League triumph.

And Ilaix’s style would on paper be a great fit with Romelu Lukaku, who destroyed Arsenal on his second Chelsea debut after returning to the club in a £97m move from Inter Milan.

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But Chelsea will likely to have to meet Barcelona’s demands if they are keen on Moriba, judging by Joan Laporta’s comments earlier this month.

The Barca president said of Moriba: “He has one year left on his contract and does not want to accept the club’s conditions.

“We do not accept that and we want to send a message to the team.

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“If you do not want to renew, we have other solutions. What we don’t want are players made at La Masia who don’t want to renew.

“He’s a player we’ve given opportunities, but the club is above all. I would like you [Moriba] to think again.

“We cannot allow him to be promoted and then leave. We won’t accept that with any player.”

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