CHELSEA are trying to swoop for Barcelona’s top talent Moriba Kourouma – under the noses of Manchester City.
The powerful midfielder can quit Barca when he turns 16 in January and the Stamford Bridge club have made him a priority target.
Getty – Contributor4 Chelsea set to battle with Manchester City for Barca kid Moriba Kourouma
Kourouma – also known by his football name Ilaix – seemed sure to sign for City who see him as a future Yaya Toure, with Pep Guardiola desperate for the highly-rated youngster.
However, Chelsea have now realised how good he is and will offer even more money to the player and his family to lure him to London.
Kourouma and his family will be the winners in the auction with Barca now looking set to lose their best discovery in years without any more than training compensation.
City hope that their long-term interest and the chance to work with Guardiola will appeal most to the teenager despite Chelsea coming up with a rival deal.
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Getty – Contributor4 Moriba Kourouma can leave Barca in January for just training compensation when he turns 16 in January
Reuters4 Man City think they might have discovered the next Yaya Toure in Moriba Kourouma
PA:Press Association4 But Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri have other ideas and want to lure Moriba Kourouma to London
And the Spanish champions will not be able to stop the Premier League giants nabbing the teenage sensation.
Kourouma has been with Barca since he was eight after his family went over from Guinea-Bissau.
He now qualifies for Spain at youth level.
The wonderkid has the skill and physique for English football and City are willing to pay him a big salary as soon as the rules allow.
Barca have not given up hope of keeping the player but are reluctant to compete financially with the English clubs.
The Catalan giants and can only hope the player and his family are not swayed by cash and he continues his development in Spain.