Man Utd lead Chelsea in transfer fight for Barcelona whizz Ilaix Moriba, 18, whose £86m buy-out clause runs out in 2022

MANCHESTER UNITED are reportedly leading the race to sign Barcelona whizzkid Ilaix Moriba.

The 18-year-old midfielder has caught the eye of a number of clubs in Europe – despite only having made seven appearances for the Catalans this season.


Moriba, who joined Barcelona's academy in 2010, has impressed in his handful of appearances for Ronald Koeman's side – scoring one goal and bagging two assists.

RB Leipzig and Chelsea are said to be two of the clubs impressed by the teenager's displays this season.

But according to Mundo Deportivo, United are ahead of their Premier League rivals in the race to land the Guinean-born Spaniard.

If the Red Devils were to make a move for Moriba in the summer, they would have to meet his whopping £86million release clause.

Moriba's contract with Barca – who are currently second in the La Liga table – is set to expire in the summer of 2022.

But according to his father Mamady Kourouma – who acts as his agent – his intention is to stay with the Catalan club.

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Moriba was the subject of interest from Manchester City chief Pep Guardiola in the summer of 2019 before he penned a professional contract with Barca.

And he would've linked up with the former Barca boss had it not been for a late change of heart from his dad.

Kourouma said: "We met with Txiki Begiristain [City's sporting director] and he explained his entire project to us.

"We liked it because they bet a lot on him. A few weeks later we had the tickets to travel to Manchester and sign the contract.

"I cancelled it the morning that we had to go there. I wanted Ilaix to be an example and a reference for the next generations of Barcelona.

''We managed to reach an agreement where we all came out winning."

Barcelona will be back in action on Sunday night, travelling to the Basque Country to take on Real Sociedad.

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