Chelsea’s prospects of signing Barcelona wonderkid are higher than ever
Ilaix Moriba was a breakout star for Barcelona last season, so it would represent a major blow if the young midfielder were to move to Chelsea this summer.
This, however, is a prospect that Barcelona are faced with due to a contract impasse that threatens to see them lose one of their top young talents.
In a summer in which Barca have desperately tried to shift top-team talent on, it is ironic that one of the few players on their books who they would absolutely want to stay is poised to leave the club.
What is Barcelona’s stance on Ilaix contract renewal?
Ilaix was a rare beacon of positivity last season, during which he broke into the side in the second half of the season and played 18 matches, returning one goal. Indeed, so impressive were his performances that it was even reported that Lionel Messi listed the player as a youngster to be given more first-team opportunities at the club.
Chelsea, though, find themselves ideally placed to pounce for the 18-year-old burgeoning star.
It has been reported that they are ready to take advantage of the stalemate in Ilaix’s contract negotiations with Barcelona. He is out of contract next summer and, having switched agents from his father to ROGON, has significantly raised his salary demands.
Barca have been unwilling to meet these requirements, leaving president Joan Laporta fuming.
“We will try to make sure that his case is not repeated anymore. 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,” he said.
“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 to the first-team and then leave for free. We won't accept that with any player.”
Can Chelsea profit?
Chelsea are well positioned to profit and, according to Sport, willing to do so by offering the player two or even three times the wage that Barcelona are willing to offer him.
The Stamford Bridge side are known to be cash rich and have the resources to draw him away – particularly as Barca can scantly afford to turn down fair value due to their financial situation.
Although Chelsea have central midfield options, they do not have the youth in that area of the field that they boast in other sectors. N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and Ross Barkley are all over 27, while manager Thomas Tuchel has been non-committal on the future of Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
A player of Ilaix’s profile would be welcome, though he may have to accept limited opportunities initially at Chelsea.