Tactical Insights

FC Barcelona ‘Forced To Sell’ La Masia Pearl To Chelsea

FC Barcelona will be “forced” to sell one of its La Masia pearls to Premier League giants Chelsea according to El Nacional, which cited anonymous sources.

Alejandro Balde got his first team debut under Ronald Koeman, but really broke through to the starting XI on a more regular basis under the Dutchman’s successor Xavi Hernandez.

He was an integral part of the 2022/2023 outfit that won the Catalans’ first La Liga title in four years, with his nailing down of the left back position earning him a spot at the Qatar 2022 World Cup for Spain and pushing club legend Jordi Alba to announce his departure ahead of joining Sergio Busquets at Inter Miami with Lionel Messi.

In 2023/2024, Balde was meant to start as he went on. Unfortunately, though, he suffered a knock to the tendon in his right hamstring at the end of January which required a season-ending surgery.

Injury problems for Marcos Alonso meant that the left back spot remained vacant, and it was taken by right back loanee Joao Cancelo or Hector Fort.

Moving on to another campaign on Hansi Flick’s watch now that Xavi has been dismissed, Barca needs to make a sale before June 30 to help balance its books.

This is where Chelsea could come in, with El Nacional reporting that the Londoners have already told Barca they are ready to sit down and negotiate a transfer worth $64.5 million (€60 million) after having been impressed by another former La Masia left back it has already incorporated in Marc Cucurella.

While Balde reportedly has no intention of moving, Barca could be forced to accept such a proposal because of its economic predicament.

The club will attempt to make Joao Cancelo’s loan move from Manchester City permanent, with his purchase fee less than what would be forthcoming for Balde.

Fort can also fill in at left back even though like Cancelo, it is not his natural position. But if recent history is anything to go by, there is always another pearl from the endless La Masia production line on the verge of breaking through as Balde did at the turn of the decade during the Koeman era.

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