Barcelona wonderkid Ilaix Moriba's father, Mamady Kourouma, has revealed he cancelled a flight to Manchester in order to scupper a potential transfer to Manchester City. The 18-year-old's contract was set to expire in January 2019, and City and Juventus were eager to sign the precocious youngster.
He eventually signed a new contract with the LaLiga giants, and last week, the Daily Mail reported that Ronald Koeman's side had slapped a 100million euro release clause on the midfielder when he was just 16.
Moriba almost moved to the Premier League and joined Pep Guardiola before his father's dramatic intervention. Kourouma told Sport: "With Barca, the negotiations (over his first professional contract) did not advance. We met with Txiki Begiristain (Manchester City sporting director) and he explained his entire project to us.
"We liked it because they bet a lot on him. A few weeks later we had the tickets to travel to Manchester and sign the contract. I cancelled it the morning we had to go there. I wanted Ilaix to be an example and a reference for the next generations of Barca. His friends were gone. If he stayed, it was proof that Barca was betting on the youth players. We managed to reach an agreement where we all came out winning."
The youngster has broken into Barcelona's first team under Koeman, and had four appearances for the senior side. He made his debut earlier this season in the Copa del Rey, and made his first league start in February against Alaves.