Barcelona defender Alejandro Balde is one step away from committing his long-term future to the club amid interest from Premier League giants Chelsea.
That’s according to SPORT, with the Spanish outlet claiming the player will sign a new four-year deal keeping him at Spotify Camp Nou until 2027 with a €1 billion release clause.
The Catalan giants are keen to tie their key players to long-term deals despite their precarious financial situation, and Balde is next in line for an improved contract.
The 19-year-old, who came through the youth ranks at Barca, has taken La Liga and Europe by storm since linking up with Xavi Hernandez’s first-team squad last summer.
He has wasted no time ousting club legend Jordi Alba to establish himself as a regular starter, notching 20 starts in his 23 league appearances and chipping in with five assists this term.
Balde’s performances has forced Alba to settle for a place on the bench, while Marcos Alonso has featured predominantly as a centre-half despite being a natural left-back.
The teenage sensation has also attracted interest from Chelsea with his fine form, but Barca have moved quickly to tie him to a new contract, with his current deal set to expire in the summer of 2024.
However, it remains to be seen if they can register the youngster for next season amid their issues with La Liga and Financial Fair Play rules.
Balde was linked with a loan move away from Camp Nou last summer, but head coach Xavi blocked his departure, and the defender has repaid his manager’s faith.
Barca have also assured the youngster that he will be registered, along with the other players who have renewed their deals. He will also retain his status as a regular starter moving forward.
Balde’s renewal throws Alba’s long-term future into doubt, with the club considering whether or not to sell the 34-year-old this summer.
Alba wants to stay at the club despite seeing his playing time reduced, but the Spain international will need to take a pay cut with Barca looking to balance their books.
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