Barcelona fear Ilaix Moriba's head has been turned by a lucrative offer from Chelsea, which is causing a delay in the midfielder agreeing a deal with the Catalan club. Joan Laporta has made it clear that they will not bow down to the player's demands despite their wish to tie him down to a new long-term contract.
The La Liga giants have been in talks with Moriba's representatives for a number of weeks now without a breakthrough. The club have made their offer, but it has been deemed insufficient by the player and his agents.
Barcelona are keen to find an agreement with Moriba, whom manager Ronald Koeman admires. The Catalans are fearful that his high demands are due to interest from other clubs around Europe. The midfielder made 18 first-team appearances last season and the Dutch manager is counting on his contributions again this upcoming season.
According to Sport, Barcelona believe Chelsea have made the player a lucrative offer either to join this summer, or on a cut price deal or to join them on a free transfer when his contract expires in 2022. The Blues have been on Moriba's tail as they also tried to sign him before he penned his first professional contract with the Catalan club.
Moriba's tense situation with the Barcelona management has seen him being omitted from the first-team for pre-season training. He has been involved with the Barcelona B team and is likely to continue with them until a solution is found.
Laporta was asked about Moriba's situation during Emerson Royal's unveiling on Monday, and he made it clear that the club will not compromise on their stance. He is keen for the Spain youth international to remain at the Camp Nou, but is open to the player pursuing other options if he does not want to accept the offer on the table.
"He has a year left on his contract and he doesn't want to accept the club's terms. We won't accept that either and we have to send a message out to the youth players. If he doesn't want to renew then he has other solutions. We can't be promoting players and then having them leave without Barça getting any benefit. We won't accept that from any player," Laporta said.
Moriba will not be short of suitors if he does decide to leave Barcelona this summer. Apart from Chelsea, Premier League clubs Manchester City and Manchester United have also been alerted about his availability. The English clubs are willing to double the salary the La Liga outfit is offering, making it a tempting proposition.