Brazilian starlet Gabriel Jesus has admitted he is after a dream move to Barcelona, amid suggestions the current La Liga champions have already had a preliminary bid for the player rejected. Reports suggest the Nou Camp outfit will face stiff competition for his services, as Manchester City have also launched a £16.4m ($24m) offer that matches the player's release clause.
The 19-year-old forward has been tipped as a future Brazilian star every since he broke into Palmeiras' first team in 2014. He has scored eight goals in 12 appearances so far this season, and is expected to feature for his national team in the upcoming Olympic Games.
Sport reported earlier this month that Barcelona are interested in securing the player's services as a future prospect, reminiscent of the deal that brought Neymar to the Nou Camp in 2013 when the Brazilian was still a promising talent. Gabriel Jesus would presumably serve as a back-up for Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, as Luis Enrique is desperate to boost his attacking line with a versatile player following the departure of Pedro Rodriguez to Chelsea last summer.
The Spanish newspaper added that Barcelona launched an opening proposal worth $19m plus $5m in add-ons to bring the starlet to the Nou Camp. Sport now claims Barcelona had the offer rejected by the oener of Gabriel Jesus' rights as they demand his $24m release clause be met in full.
However, the player has admitted he would love to join Barcelona, and the report suggests Barcelona will come back with an improved offer in the coming days.
"To go to Barça would be a dream," Gabriel Jesus said to Sport. "I am aware of my condition, I know what my potential is and what I can give. I am working really hard. I push myself to the limit to do what I like doing most, which is playing football. I'm really enjoying myself."
"I have the best family possible and I receive the best guidance. I really trust them, they've always advised me throughout my life... but it's me who takes the decisions."
Meanwhile, Duncan Castle reports in One World Sport that Barcelona may lose the battle after Manchester City made an offer that matches the player's release clause. Should this be true, Gabriel Jesus will have the final word on his future.