CHELSEA and Manchester United are both battling for Ilaix Moriba after missing out on the Barcelona wonderkid in 2019, reports say.
Moriba is the latest youngster to burst into Ronald Koeman’s team this season.
The 18-year-old has made six appearances in all competitions and scored his first-ever goal in their 2-0 win against Osasuna this month.
But Moriba came close to joining Pep Guardiola at Man City two years ago when doubts emerged over a new Barca deal.
He ended up staying at the Nou Camp, but according to Sport, Chelsea and United are still tracking the midfielder.
So too are Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig, with clubs said to have asked ex-Barca club director Eric Abidal to take Moriba on loan in the past.
City were so close to signing the Spaniard, he had even booked a plane ticket to the Etihad as he searched for his first professional contract.
But at the last minute, his dad Mamady Kourouma cancelled the ticket on the morning of the flight after a breakthrough in contract talks with Barca.
Mamady said: “With Barcelona, the negotiations did not advance.
“We met with Txiki Begiristain [City’s sporting director] and he explained his entire project to us.
FREE BETS: GET OVER £2,000 IN SIGN UP OFFERS HERE
“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.
“His friends were gone. If he stayed, it was proof Barca was betting on the youth players.
“We managed to reach an agreement where we all came out winning.”
⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds