Manchester United have an eye for young talent and have made a habit of raiding Spain over the past year.
United signed Marc Jurado from Barcelona, Alvaro Fernandez from Real Madrid, and Alejandro Garnacho from Atletico Madrid.
So it should not come as a surprise United are being linked to another Spanish based teenager. This one might be more expensive.
Who is Ilaix Moriba?
The Mirror report United have made an approach for Ilaix Moriba, who plays for Barcelona.
Moriba is in Barcelona’s B team, and has recently stepped up to the first team under Ronald Koeman.
Moriba made his fifth first team appearance at the weekend, scoring his first goal in a 2-0 victory over Osasuna.
He also has two assists to his name already, a very healthy contribution for a midfield player adjusting to first team level.
The big issue for Barcelona is Moriba’s contract. His current deal expires in 2022.
It is claimed by The Mirror that Manchester United have already made an approach, along with RB Leizpig, and Moriba is not ruling anything out at this stage.
How much could he cost?
Moriba has a release clause in his contract of £89 million. However, due to his expiring deal, Barcelona could be forced into cashing in for far less this summer.
Barcelona would not want to lose a talented academy player right now who has just broken into the first team. So they will be doing everything they can to convince him to stay.
In United’s favour is Barcelona’s monetary situation. The Financial Times reports Barcelona have a debt of around £1 billion, reporting the club are in a ‘precarious position’.
All offers will have to be considered. If United make a bid of around £30 million, speculatively, Barcelona would have to seriously weigh it up, as much as they would be reluctant to do so.
What kind of player is he?
Moriba is a central midfielder who was born in Guinea but has Spanish citizenship and has represented Spain’s under-19s.
A feature from Total Footbal Analysis compares him in style to Paul Pogba, while manager Ronald Koeman is very impressed.
Koeman was quoted by Barca Blaugranes: “Every time he comes into the team he gives the team something extra, because of his personality, his energy, most of all he’s good with the ball, and physically he’s a strong boy. He’s gaining ground and showing he can be more with the first team.”
Moriba is a strong passer with an eye for goal, and the type of talent who could come in and compete for a United first team place right away.
At present we would rate this one as a long shot, but while his contract situation remains unresolved, United have a chance, especially with Barcelona’s financial situation. One way or another, Moriba looks destined for the top.
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