Barcelona teenager Ilaix Moriba has not been called up to pre-season training with the first team ahead of the new 2021-22 La Liga season amid a contract standoff with the Catalan giants.
The club confirmed on Friday the players who would be starting pre-season preparations on Saturday. Barca is without a host of players because of Euro 2020 and Copa America commitments but has still called up 11 first-teamers and 10 Barca B players, including new signing Yusuf Demir.
Moriba is the one notable absentee and his absence is because he has so far failed to agree a contract extension with Barcelona, according to Ferran Martinez at Mundo Deportivo.
The decision is purely “political” as the club is in no doubt after his quality but has decided Moriba will not be promoted until he renews his contract which is due to expire in 2022.
Barca has told the midfielder to renew or look for a new club but negotiations have not advanced. The Catalan giants seem unimpressed with the “high demands” made by the teenager’s agents but are willing to continue talks “to get the situation back on track.”
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Koeman Wants Squad Confirmed
Moriba is not the only player facing an uncertain future ahead of the new campaign with Barcelona needing to slash the wage bill in order to comply with La Liga’s salary cap.
Coach Ronald Koeman has said he’s keen for his squad for next season to be confirmed but is aware it’s a tricky situation because of the club’s perilous financial predicament, as reported by Sport.
“It’s better to know which players you’re going to have and who is going to be available to train,” he said. “However, we also know that, due to the summer tournaments, we won’t be able to spend much time with the full team this pre-season. The domestic season will begin shortly after, and things may change between then and the end of August.”
What Next For Ilaix Moriba?
It remains to be seen what will happen with Moriba but there’s no doubt he made an impact at Barcelona last season. The youngster was handed plenty of game time by Koeman and ended the season with 15 first-team appearances under his belt.
Moriba also scored his first goal for the club, in a 2-0 win over Osasuna, and had seemed set to stay. His father told Sport back in March 2021 that he wasn’t thinking about a transfer.
“I consider Ronald the “Papa of Ilaix.” A person who gives you a chance at life like he has given my son must be very grateful. Not all coaches do that kind of gesture. If it weren’t for Koeman, some of these youngsters wouldn’t be in the first team,” he said. “With this dynamic, thanks to Koeman, I am one hundred percent thinking about Barça. Why go away? At that age, risking going to another team when you have a coach who, in a complicated match like Sevilla’s, he bets on a young boy from La Masia. That has to be valued. Almost no one does.”
Moriba can surely expect more first-team minutes if he does stay on after appearing to be a firm favorite of Koeman’s last season. Yet if an agreement can not be found Barca may have little choice but to sell one of their brightest stars.