ManUnited could have found their Paul Pogba replacement thanks to Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi's decsion on his future could have an impact on transfers made across Europe this summer
Affairs in Catalonia could have a big impact on this summer’s transfer market for a number of big European sides.
That's because Barcelona are faced with a number of financial dilemmas ahead of next season, the most obvious of which surrounding the future of Lionel Messi and whether he’s to sign a new deal or not in the coming weeks.
If he does, the club will need to free up around €100m from a wage bill that would have to be cut significantly to fit within La Liga’s financial fair play rules, especially given that the club have already brought in new and expensive assets such as Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia.
This means there’s going to be difficult decisions to sell key players who may have under different circumstances remained with the Catalonian giants for many years to come. Their loss could be many other clubs’ gain, with talented Barcelona stars potentially available at cut-price fees.
From a Manchester United perspective, one potential available player who could, and probably should be on their radar is midfielder Ilaix Moriba.
It was a breakout season at Camp Nou for Moriba who both scored and assisted across his first three La Liga appearances for Barcelona back in January. Despite being just 18, his performances saw him rewarded with regular minutes on the pitch by Ronald Koeman and he finished the campaign having made a solid 14 senior La Liga showings.
He’s a product of the famous La Masia academy, yet his skill set differs from that of a traditional Barcelona academy midfielder.
He is a good passer of the ball and has great technical skill, especially in tight areas in the middle of the pitch. Yet he also utilises his more physical attributes too such as pace, strength and relentless stamina.
His multifaceted capabilities mean that he’s versatile and can play a number of different positions within the midfield, both on either the left and right or as a holding No.6.
Interestingly, his style of play and profile has drawn similarities to that of Paul Pogba, which is fitting given that the Frenchman’s long-term United future still remains in doubt.
It’s thought that the midfield is one area in which Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would like to strengthen in the coming window, and this will especially be the case if the club were to lose the brilliance of Pogba.
Whilst Moriba is some way from the United star’s level, he’s still far from being in his peak years and has illustrated enough during both his short senior and youth career to suggest that he’s going to have a very high ceiling.
His potential is so high that Barcelona slapped a £100m release clause on his current deal that he signed two years ago to warn away any interested parties.
However, that deal expires next summer, meaning that the cash-strapped La Liga side would need to sell this summer if they were to make any profit or risk losing him for nothing next year.
As a result, United could well land him for a reasonable price, should they make a move.