Barcelona looks set to miss out on midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum who had been expected to move to the Camp Nou on a free transfer this summer. Instead the Netherlands international is now expected to join Paris Saint-Germain.
The French side has hijacked Barca’s deal for Wijnaldum, and the midfielder is set to sign a three-year deal with PSG, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano. PSG offered a more generous financial package than Barca and will double the 30-year-old’s salary.
Missing out on Wijnaldum means Barca will now turn to ‘Plan B’ in the shape of teenage star Ilaix Moriba, according to ESPN’s Moises Llorens. The club is set to begin talks over a new contract and plan to offer the 18-year-old “a lot of prominence next season.”
Barca chiefs Mateu Alemany and Joan Laporta “were not surprised” to miss out on Wijnaldum after hearing of interest from PSG, according to Xavi Hernandez at Diari Ara. The Dutchman was seen as a “market opportunity” as he was available on a free transfer and not a priority.
Hernandez added that Wijnaldum’s decision to move to PSG instead of Barcelona means youngsters such as Moriba, Riqui Puig, and Barca B’s Nico Gonzalez “can smile” in a post on Twitter.
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Moriba Set For Barcelona Talks
Barcelona and Moriba will sit down and discuss a contract extension shortly, according to Luis F. Rojo at Marca. The teenager’s current contract at the Camp Nou expires in 2022.
The Catalan giants are said to be “desperate” to tie Moriba down to a long-term deal and plan on offering a contract that runs until 2025 or 2026. Yet the club is concerned Moriba could be tempted by other clubs who may be able to offer higher wages.
Moriba enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2020-21 under Ronald Koeman. The midfielder ended up making 15 appearances in all competitions and scored his first goal for the club against Osasuna in March.
Moriba Committed To Barca?
There’s no doubt that Moriba has a big future ahead of him, and it would be no surprise if clubs around Europe were keeps tabs on the midfielder currently. However, the youngster has always appeared fully committed to the Catalans.
Moriba offered Ronald Koeman a bow by way of thanks after he was brought on as a substitute in the win over Sevilla in February in La Liga.
The teenager also outlined his commitment to the cause after featuring in the Clasico defeat to Real Madrid in April. He wrote on Instagram, “I will always give everything for this club that has given me so much.”
Meanwhile, Moriba’s father told Diario Sport in an interview in March that Koeman’s willingness to offer his son first-team chances mean there is no reason for him to leave the club.
“With this dynamic, thanks to Koeman, I am 100 percent thinking of Barça. Why leave?” he said. “At that age, taking the risk of going to another team when you have a coach that takes a chance on a kid from La Masia in a tough game like the Sevilla one… You have to appreciate that. Hardly anyone does it.”
However, Moriba has since changed agent and talks with Barcelona are expected to be “complicated,” according to journalist Gerard Romero. The Catalans may not have the financial power to compete with other clubs currently but will be able to offer regular game time which could prove more tempting.