FC Barcelona

Barcelona considering Ilaix Moriba promotion instead of Georginio Wijnaldum move

Tom Gott
Apr 2, 2021, 9:15 PM GMT+1
Ilaix Moriba could be promoted to the first team
Ilaix Moriba could be promoted to the first team | Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Barcelona are contemplating ending their chase of Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, instead handing the first-team spot he would take to academy graduate Ilaix Moriba.

The Catalan giants have been pursuing a deal for Wijnaldum ever since Ronald Koeman's arrival in the dugout last summer and they have reached a verbal agreement over a contract with the 30-year-old, whose Liverpool deal is set to expire at the end of the season.

Georginio Wijnaldum
Wijnaldum is on Barcelona's radar | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The interest in Wijnaldum began before anyone in the Barça setup had seen what Moriba could do first-hand. The powerful 18-year-old has played eight times for Koeman's senior side so far this year and has chipped in with one goal and three assists for good measure.

Moriba has long been seen as a star of the future, but according to Sky Sports, Barcelona are open to bringing the future forward and offering the teenager the spot in the senior squad that had been reserved for Wijnaldum.

Part of new president Joan Laporta's vision for the club is to restore the importance of the academy, La Masia, and the chance to kick things off by promoting Moriba to the first team permanently has piqued his interest.

On top of that desire to give youth a chance, Laporta's hands could be tied by financial restraints. Barça are facing debts of over £1bn and handing Wijnaldum a big-money contract doesn't make things any easier, particularly considering Laporta remains determined to win the £150m-race for Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland.

It's news which will be met positively by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. The boss has long made it clear that he wants to keep Wijnaldum around, and 90min recently revealed that he had made one final plea to the board to satisfy the Dutchman's wage demands and keep him around.

There is an offer on the table at Anfield for Wijnaldum, but the 30-year-old has been less than impressed with the terms on offer and wants to see himself paid like the first-team star both he and his manager see him as.

Georginio Wijnaldum
Wijnaldum would prefer to stay at Liverpool | BSR Agency/Getty Images

Barcelona had been prepared to make that commitment to Wijnaldum, but further reflection on their financial woes has thrown a spanner in the works.

Instead, Moriba could be their future, and a permanent promotion to the senior setup may be what it takes to convince the talented teenager to ink fresh terms and extend his contract, which is set to expire in 2022.

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