?Barcelona are the latest club to be linked with teen sensation Cesar Gelabert, the highly rated academy product of their great rivals Real Madrid.
Earmarked as a potential star of years to come at the Bernabeu, Gelabert’s future, nevertheless, remains uncertain, with recent reports claiming the 19-year-old and his employers are at an impasse over a long-term contract extension.
Gelabert’s current deal expires in the summer of 2021, while the young forward has attracted suitors from across the continent, ?including Arsenal, Dortmund and Lyon.
Now ?AS add more names to the mix, with ?Manchester United ‘keeping tabs’, while Real Zaragoza and Real Vallodolid are keen on loan deals.
Most intriguingly though, ?Barcelona are also said to be ‘circling’, having previously been rebuffed in 2015.
The Spanish champions have been watching Palencia-born Gelabert for several years and could attempt to ‘tempt their eternal rivals to do business’.
In the modern era, the only first-team player to have transferred directly from Real Madrid to Barcelona remains Luis Enqriue in 1996, when he left Los Blancos at the end of his contract to sign for La Blaugrana. Several players (including Luis Figo) have, however, gone in the other direction.
While highly thought of in Madrid, in part thanks to a series of dazzling UEFA Youth League appearances, Gelabert is yet to make a senior appearance for the club he joined from Hercules in 2015.
AS notes that Zinedine Zidane is a ‘firm fan’ of the player, but with a litany of high profile attackers already in the first team, the youngster’s chance of a breakthrough in the near future look slim.
As a case study, former Man City starlet Brahim Diaz, now 20, has been limited to just 40 minutes of action for Madrid this season, with Gareth Bale, Eden Hazard, James Rodriguez, Isco, Lucas Vazquez, Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior all also fighting for attacking berths under Zidane. In addition, Marco Asensio is also due to return from injury, while Dani Ceballos and Martin Odegaard will return from loan deals this summer.
While Arsenal, Manchester United and Barcelona may continue to circle, a transfer this summer seems unlikely as long as a contract extension remains possible, and Madrid may be more inclined to let the young star go out on loan to prove his worth.