Barcelona are looking to offload all their unwanted players this summer, but one player who could get caught up in the mass exodus is wonderkid midfielder Ilaix Moriba.
Seen as one of the most exciting players on the planet, Moriba has been banished from the first team at Barcelona until he agrees to extend his contract, which is set to expire next summer. If he doesn’t play ball, he’ll be sold this summer, and the list of suitors for him is already growing.
Let’s take a look at which move makes most sense.
Suitors of Moriba a few years ago, Juventus are always sniffing around whenever there’s a chance to snap up a youngster for a bargain price.
Unfortunately, they aren’t going to land Moriba this summer. They have far too many central midfielders already, and even if they manage to get rid of the deadwood – teams aren’t jumping at the chance to sign Aaron Ramsey – the plan is to sign another Barcelona man, Miralem Pjanic.
Factor in the fact that Juventus aren’t doing great financially, and you’ll see why this deal isn’t happening.
The allure of working with Pep Guardiola could tempt Moriba to join Manchester City, but the level of competition in midfield at the Etihad could convince him to look elsewhere.
Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan are going to start most games, and then there’s Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva looking for minutes in midfield. The pathway for Moriba isn’t there.
It might be one of the more intriguing options, but in reality, it doesn’t make sense for a player keen on making an immediate impact in senior football.
Moriba’s future was linked to Georginio Wijnaldum earlier in the window, when it looked like he would be replaced by the Dutchman, and that could come back again if the youngster moves to Anfield.
The two players do have a similar playstyle, and Liverpool are obviously lacking someone in that mould now that Wijnaldum has upped sticks for PSG.
Unfortunately for Liverpool, Moriba could be too expensive. There’ll be a bidding war for his services, and then you’ve got the wages that have scared off Barcelona to factor in. It might be a step too far.
Chelsea are known fans of Moriba and have been tracking him for years, but in their current system, it’s hard to see where he fits in.
Thomas Tuchel’s dream pairing is going to be N’Golo Kante and Jorginho – two players who could well battle it out for the Ballon d’Or in a few months – so Moriba would only ever be a backup.
That’s likely not going to be good enough for Moriba, who will expect to be a regular first-team member at his next club. He’s too talented to spend so much time on the bench.
RB Leipzig’s willingness to play young players will definitely appeal to Moriba, and there could be a ready made spot for him if Marcel Sabitzer leaves the club as expected.
Moriba would slide into the starting lineup and gain regular experience at a really high level. From a sporting perspective, Leipzig may well be his best destination.
Unfortunately, Leipzig might not be able to survive in a bidding war against the Premier League’s elite. If they can’t meet Moriba’s demands, they might have to look elsewhere.
Moriba has been compared to Paul Pogba for years, and Manchester United look like they’re about to have a Pogba-sized void in their squad.
United have made a point of spending big on the game’s best young talents in recent years, and Moriba fits the bill perfectly, but with the added bonus of already being ready for minutes.
He might not be a permanent starter at United just yet, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would keep the door open with a view to promoting him in the near future. It’s all about whether the boss can convince Moriba to stay patient.