Barcelona have been linked with a number of teenage talents in recent months, as they scour the globe for the next big superstar before they become big. This is a strategy born out of their financial struggles, knowing they will struggle to compete once that is the case. One of the more high profile talents they have been linked with is River Plate’s Claudio Echeverri, but their budget will not stretch that far either, according to Fabrizio Romano.
The 17-year-old starred for Argentina at the under-17 World Cup in Indonesia recently, and has been a target for Europe’s top clubs since. Speculation surrounding Echeverri’s future only increased after he announced he wouldn’t be signing a new deal with River. His contract is up in a year’s time, meaning El Millionario will likely look to sell him this January.
Echeverri has publicly stated his affection for Barcelona, giving the Blaugrana hope of bringing him in, but Romano has told Caught Offside that they cannot buy him this January – Manchester City and Chelsea are now favourites.
“Echeverri always mentioned his passion for Barcelona in public, but Barca can’t make the deal happen now due to Financial Fair Play so it’s not possible to proceed. Manchester City and Chelsea remain keen and with higher chances to sign Claudio at this stage.”
Barcelona’s strategy in recent years has been to convince players not with bigger pay cheques, but the prestige and opportunity to play for Barcelona and live in the city. It’s been a successful plan, as shown by the likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Joao Cancelo, Joao Felix, Raphinha, Jules Kounde and others taking lower contracts at the Blaugrana to have that chance. However it only stretches so far, and Echeverri is yet to earn much in his career. It would be entirely understandable were he to take the money, but neither of Chelsea and City will be bad situations for him either on the pitch.