‘Total Crisis’ declared over Barca youngster’s future

Robin Bairner
Ronald Koeman, Barcelona, Primera Division

Barcelona’s difficult transfer window seems to throw up a problem each time a solution is found.

Gerard Pique’s decision to delay a large portion of his salary averted a large crisis before last weekend’s match against Real Sociedad as it allowed Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia to be registered in time for the game, which they subsequently won 4-2.

Meanwhile, the lingering question over how Lionel Messi is replaced remains unanswered while Sergio Aguero’s 10-week absence is set to cause havoc in attack, where there is a lack of natural cover.

A slower brewing crisis for Barcelona, meanwhile, surrounds young midfielder Ilaix Moriba, who was so highly thought of by a certain Messi that the Argentine reportedly demanded that the young Spaniard was given an opportunity in the first team – a chance that the 18-year-old grasped impressively.

Since then, though, the relationship between Ilaix and Barca has turned sour because the two parties have been unable to reach an agreement over the player’s future.

Barcelona's Ilaix Moriba on the cover of Sport

Indeed, so bad have things got between the player and the club, Barcelona-based paper Sport led Thursday’s edition with the headline: “Ilaix-Barca, Total Crisis.”

The situation is not one that suits either party, though there appears to be little will on either side to move.

Ilaix’s wage demands have been branded “impossible” by Sport, and with just a year left on his contract Barcelona are willing to allow the teenager to spend the campaign in the stands, not even playing for the ‘B’ team.

Ilaix at Barcelona

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Meanwhile, despite Barca’s cash-strapped status, they have been unwilling to sell. RB Leipzig have reportedly offered €8 million for the talented youngster, but Barca are holding out for €15m and are refusing to budge from that position.

Chelsea, meanwhile, have also been linked with the player, although that interest appears to be little more than a watching brief for the moment.

Ilaix, therefore, faces the prospect of wasting a year of his career doing little more than kicking his heels, while Barcelona are frittering away the talent of one of their top academy stars in the hope it sends a message to his peers that no dissent against the club will be tolerated.