Barcelona keen to snap up ‘incredibly good’ Manchester United starlet

Harry De Cosemo
Kobbie Mainoo, Barcelona
Kobbie Mainoo is wanted by Barcelona.

Barcelona are targeting Manchester United teenager Kobbie Mainoo as their first summer signing, despite their well documented financial issues.

The transfer window opened on Friday and there has been plenty of speculation over the changes new part owner and the man in charge of football operations at Old Trafford, will make ahead of next season.

Manager Erik ten Hag is now staying in what appears to be a rather strong U-turn. Before the FA Cup final, when United beat rivals Manchester City, the Guardian had suggested he would be sacked and the club were reported to have spoken to a number of prospective replacements after they finished eighth in the Premier League last season. Ten Hag has now won two trophies in as many seasons since arriving from Ajax in 2022.

Mainoo headed for Spain?

But reports in Belgium suggest United may need to fight of interest in Mainoo, who was the breakout star and success story of last season. The club are said to be aware that Barcelona are circling and are keen to discuss a new contract with the player. His current deal has three years to run.

Mainoo, 19, is currently away at the European Championships with England preparing to face Serbia on Sunday. Given Barcelona’s financial struggles, it seems difficult to understand how they could afford a player of Mainoo’s quality and potential, or that the player, who came through the club’s academy, would want to leave the Red Devils.

Mainoo’s performances since emerging have made him one of the most talked about English footballers, but last season Ten Hag had a warning for both him and Alejandro Garnacho, who has also established himself at Old Trafford last season.

“Incredibly good,” he told TNT Sports’ Rio Ferdinand when asked about their development. “But they are just on the start of the journey, and that is also what they have to understand.

“They are now in the first team, but getting here is much more easy than staying here, and there’s going to be a big fight for them [to do that].”

It is all change at Barcelona since the former Germany and Bayern Munich boss replaced Xavi as coach. The Blaugrana finished second in La Liga, ten points adrift of rivals Real Madrid, and although president Joan Laporta initially persuaded Xavi to stay after he resigned during the last campaign, the decision was ultimately taken to part ways.

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