FC Barcelona have been busy this summer, as they attempt to balance their books for the upcoming season. Apart from offloading players, they have also been locking down those that they want to stay. However, Ilaix Moriba has been caught in a tough spot, after the club demoted him to the Barcelona B team when he refused the terms of the contract that they had initially offered.
Moriba proved his potential last season after manager Ronald Koeman called him up to play with the first team. The 18-year-old made his debut and went on to make 14 first team appearances last season, contributing a goal and three assists.
Despite this, the club's precarious financial position has not allowed them to offer him a long-term contract to his liking. As such, the club has resorted to other tactics. He has been demoted to training back with the B-team, and was even left out of the squad when they played their first pre-season friendly last week.
The club made it clear that he will be kept in the sidelines until he changes his position on his contract extension. Barcelona B coach Sergi Barjuan has weighed in on the situation, revealing that he had been discussing the situation with the player. "I've been speaking with him, and I told him that I'd help him in the day-to-day, but above all I advised him to not allow himself to leave [Barcelona]," he said, as quoted by Football Espana.
"In the end what matters is that he doesn't trip himself up, that he gets the best out of himself, because in the end when the situation is resolved, he knows that that when he reaches the top the competition will be fierce and if he's not physically right he'll find it tough," added Barjuan.
The coach then assured that the player is handling the situation well, despite the club's tactics of applying pressure. The club does not appear to be planning on letting him leave either, contrary to what they did to Matheus Fernandes.
The Brazilian was shocked to find out that the club had summarily terminated his contract this summer, and a legal battle is expected to ensue between him an Barcelona.
Barcelona are desperately moving players along in an effort to slash their wage bill for next season. They need to do this to get below La Liga's salary cap, and ultimately be allowed to re-sign Lionel Messi. There are a lot of moving parts and apart from selling players, the club is also trying to impose more wage cuts on the existing roster.
Moriba now has to make the tough decision of accepting a deal which he feels is undervalued, or allow himself to be kept in the sidelines. Alternatively, Barcelona may become open to selling the player if a substantial offer comes to the table.