Barcelona have confirmed a new deal for defender Alejandro Balde, but are still struggling to reach an agreement with midfielder Ilaix Moriba despite multiple meetings with the player's representatives.
The Catalan club were keen to tie down both the youngsters to new long-term deals with both their contracts expiring in 2022. Barcelona have been holding talks over past few weeks with the representatives of Balde and Moriba, and have finally made a breakthrough with the former.
"Alejandro Balde has reached an agreement with FC Barcelona to renew his contract with the club until 30 June 2024 and put pen to paper this Thursday in the company of president Joan Laporta, the first vice-president for the sports area Rafael Yuste, Joan Soler and the director of youth football José Ramón Alexanco in the Camp Nou offices," Barcelona said via a statement of their official site.
The 17-year-old left-back will provide cover for veteran Jordi Alba, who remains the first choice under manager Ronald Koeman. Balde's also has a release clause of €500 million. The Spain youth international made his non-competitive debut for the first-team earlier this week when they played Gimnastic in a pre-season friendly.
Meanwhile, Moriba's situation is at the other end of the spectrum with Barcelona struggling to reach an agreement with the midfielder's representatives over a new deal. The 18-year-old remains a part of Ronald Koeman's plans for next season, but will not be part of the first-team squad if he fails to agree a new deal.
Barcelona's director of football has held a number of meetings with Moriba's agents but their demands are thought to be too high for the club's liking. They are hoping to reach a compromise in the coming days, but until then, Moriba has been relegated to the Barcelona B squad for pre-season training.
Moriba wants to remain at the Camp Nou in the long-term but a lack of clarity on his future has seen other clubs enter the race, which could make things complicated. According to Sport, Premier League big guns Chelsea and Manchester City are monitoring the situation and have made their interest known.
The midfielder, who is seen as a potential long-term replacement for Sergio Busquets, can earn double his current wages if he moves to England. But Moriba's preference is to stay with Barcelona and will hope to finalise a deal before the new campaign gets underway.