Chelsea step up pursuit of Man City target Valentin Barco

  • Barco is a long-time target for Man City & Brighton
  • 19-year-old remains under contract with Boca Juniors until 2024
  • Chelsea could sell Ian Maatsen in the January transfer window

Chelsea are chasing Barco
Chelsea are chasing Barco / Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images

Chelsea have stepped up their interest in Boca Juniors starlet Valentin Barco as they seek to rival Manchester City to his signature, 90min understands.

Barco has attracted significant interest from the Premier League and across Europe, with Brighton & Hove Albion among the first to hold serious talks over a deal for the versatile 19-year-old.

Since then, City have joined the hunt for Barco, who is comfortable both at left-back and further forward, and Pep Guardiola's side are currently the favourites to get a deal over the line.

However, sources have now confirmed to 90min Chelsea are readying a push to try and convince Barco to head to Stamford Bridge instead.

Boca Juniors have attempted to tie Barco down to a new contract and remove his £8m release clause, but an extension is not currently forthcoming and the 19-year-old is due to enter the final 12 months of his existing deal in January.

A move away from Argentina appears likely although Boca will not entertain interest in Barco until after Saturday's Copa Libertadores final against Fluminense.

Ian Maatsen
Maatsen is a target for City / Robin Jones/GettyImages

Barco's future could ultimately be tied to that of Ian Maatsen, who saw a 12-month extension clause in his contract triggered by Chelsea to prevent him from walking away on a free transfer at the end of the current season.

Chelsea are still trying to convince the Dutch left-back to sign an extension but Maatsen is understood to have concerns about his current role in Mauricio Pochettino's squad, having played just 84 minutes across six Premier League games this season.

Should Maatsen continue to distance himself from an extension, Chelsea will look to sell the 21-year-old and City are known to be huge fans of the Dutch international.

Elsewhere, Chelsea have also added 17-year-old Lille centre-back Leny Yoro to their list of potential targets.