Tactical Insights

Barcelona plan move to sign La Masia graduate valued at €45m – Reports

Catalan giants Barcelona are planning a swap deal to land La Masia graduate Alejandro Grimaldo from Bundesliga high-flyers Bayer Leverkusen, sending 20-year-old Alejandro Balde the other way.

Grimaldo moved to Benfica from Barca’s B side for a reported fee of €2.1 million in 2016. He made 303 appearances for the Super Eagles, scoring 27 and assisting 66, thus establishing himself as one of the most consistent left-backs in Europe.

A free transfer to Bayer Leverkusen followed at the beginning of the 2023-24 season. Under Xabi Alonso, he has thoroughly out-performed every single expectation, putting together one of the best offensive seasons by a full-back in the history of the game.

He is tied atop the Bundesliga assist charts with 11 in 26 games. Across all competitions, he has 11 goals and 15 assists in 37 games, as Leverkusen march on unbeaten towards an unprecedented treble (Bundesliga, DFB Pokal, Europa League).

Balde had a breakout season at the Camp Nou last year, which saw him become a vital cog in the Blaugrana’s La Liga title victory. However, he was struggling for form in the first half of the 2023-24 campaign, before suffering a tendon rupture in January that ended his season. Pre-injury, Balde made 28 appearances this season, returning with a goal and assist apiece.

Due to his incredible performances, his market value has reportedly risen to €45 million, which is out of Barcelona‘s budget. However, they believe that they can either reduce the fee or convince Leverkusen for a straight swap deal by including Balde in the transfer.

Barcelona offer breakout defender Pau Cubarsi new contract with €1 billion release clause

Barcelona have reportedly offered breakout defender Pau Cubarsi a new contract at the club that has a whopping release clause of €1 billion, according to Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano.

The release clause is characteristic of the Blaugrana, who have a similar release clause in the contracts of first-team superstars Gavi, Ronald Araujo, Lamine Yamal, and Pedri.

The 17-year-old made his first-team debut in January 2024, marshalling the defense in a 4-2 victory against Real Betis in La Liga. Since then, he has delivered a host of impressive performances, with clean tackling, incredible composure and remarkable distribution.

He has already made 13 appearances for the senior team, keeping five clean sheets in the process. His performances also earned him a callup to the Spanish national side, featuring twice off the bench last week against Brazil and Colombia, respectively.

Cubarsi’s current deal at the club lasts till 2026; however, it has a release clause of merely €10 million. With top European clubs already interested in his services, including multiple cash-rich Premier League sides, such a miniscule release clause would not act as an effective deterrent.

Therefore, Barcelona are trying their best to tie him down to a long term deal at the club with an astonishingly high release clause. If Cubarsi does sign the contract, however, it would only come into effect after he turns 18 in January 2025.

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