So many giant clubs are also interested in Real Madrid’s coveted young star César Gelabert, but Barcelona feel they can steal a march on the 19-year-old.
César Gelabert, Real Madrid’s promising attacking midfielder who made his debut for the reserve side, Castilla, at the age of 17, faces an unusual week with several clubs circling around the player.
The most notable of these is Barcelona, who tried to sign him in 2015 only to be rebuffed but feel they can take advantage of a contract impasse between Madrid and Gelabert, whose current deal at the Bernabéu expires in 2021.
Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund, Lyon and Arsenal are all also keeping tabs on the 19-year-old but Barcelona have emerged as the unlikeliest candidates to pinch the finest talent La Fábrica has produced in recent years given their previous interest.
Barça have been tracking Gelabert since his youth team days and during his spell at Hércules and believe with the right offer they may tempt their eternal rivals to do busniness, given his chances of breaking into Zinedine Zidane’s well-stocked first team attacking department are remote.
Arsenal though are also well-placed and Mikel Arteta’s scouting department have been watching Gelabert in action in the UEFA Youth League against Chelsea and Spurs, against whom he scored a wonderful goal.
The Gunners are expected to pull out all the stops this summer and go toe-to-toe with Barça for the youngster with Arteta having proven since he took over at the Emirates that he is happy to give youth a fair crack of the whip.
However, Madrid are also hopeful of tying Gelabert down to a new deal, although the lack of first-team opportunities remains an obstacle.
Zidane is a firm fan of the attacker andhe has had plenty of playing time under Raúl at Castilla, but with the likes of James Rodríguez, Gareth Bale and Lucas Vázquez spending plenty of time on the Bernabéu bench an immediate breakthrough seems unlikely.