Barcelona are considering making youth star Ilaix Moriba an important first-team player next season instead of signing Liverpool’s Georginio Wijnaldum.
The Dutch midfielder, whose Liverpool deal expires at the end of the season, has been a target for Ronald Koeman since he took over last summer and talks have been held over a free transfer.
Wijnaldum has been waiting on new Barca president Joan Laporta’s comprehensive financial audit to see if they will make him an offer – but that is now in doubt amid debts of more than £1billion.
Laporta’s new officials are instead discussing with Koeman’s technical staff whether to promote the 18-year-old Moriba permanently, following his impressive first-team breakthrough this season.
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The box-to-box midfielder made his debut in January in the Copa del Rey and then his La Liga bow came less than a month later, setting up a goal against Alaves. He has since created two more and scored against Osasuna.
Laporta wants to make La Masia academy the focus of Barcelona’s first-team recruitment again, since being voted in as president for a second time last month.
Laporta oversaw Barca’s glorious period with Pep Guardiola at the helm and a team almost entirely made up of La Masia products.
Liverpool still want to keep Wijnaldum, meanwhile, and the offer of a new contract remains on the table. Manager Jurgen Klopp recently praised the Netherlands international as their most consistent performer this season.
Erling Haaland representatives visit Barcelona, Real Madrid for talks
Erling Haaland’s representatives have visited Barcelona and Madrid for talks.
Agent Mino Raiola and Alf Inge, the father of Borussia Dortmund striker Haaland, initially landed in Barcelona ahead of a meeting with Joan Laporta, who was elected as Barca president last month.
Raiola and Alf Inge Haaland then flew to Spain’s capital for further talks with Real Madrid.
The talks increase speculation over Haaland’s future, although it is unclear how Barcelona would finance a deal with the club wrestling with huge debt, caused largely by the coronavirus pandemic.
Haaland, 20, is under contract at Dortmund until 2024 but has a reported €75m (£66m) release clause, which comes into effect in the summer of 2022.
A host of top clubs have been linked with a move for the Norwegian, including Manchester City.
Haaland has become one of Europe’s biggest names after scoring 48 goals in his first 48 games for the Bundesliga side, after joining from Red Bull Salzburg for just £17m at the end of 2019.
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