€50 million-rated Barcelona academy product wanted by several Premier League clubs, but Xavi counts on him

€50 million-rated Barcelona academy product wanted by several Premier League clubs, but Xavi counts on him

It has been a difficult season for Alejandro Balde at Barcelona, particularly in the past few weeks as the young left-back appears to have lost prominence in the scheme of things.

The 20-year-old enjoyed a scintillating breakthrough campaign last season, during which he went on to replace Jordi Alba as the first-choice left-back.

With the veteran departing in the summer, Balde became the undisputed choice in the starting XI, and even signed a long-term contract renewal with a €1 billion release clause.

Reduced prominence

But, over the course of the season, the La Masia ace’s form has dipped, leading to his exclusion from the lineup in recent matches, with Joao Cancelo being preferred at left-back, while he was also axed from the Spain squad last month.

Balde, whose market value stands at €50 million, was left out of the starting XI in back-to-back important games against FC Porto and Atletico Madrid.

In fact, the Spaniard did not play any minutes last night versus the Rojiblancos, which left him angered after the game.

In the six games that Barça have played since November in all competitions, Balde has started only two, with Joao Cancelo now being the preferred option at left-back – a trend that appears likely to continue given the success that the team enjoyed in the last two matches.

No longer a permanent fixture. (Photo by Rafa Babot/Getty Images)

Premier League clubs interested

It is not lost on anyone that Barcelona need to make some big sales in the summer given their financial situation, and if Balde’s situation prevails, it is bound to give way to debate about the possibility of offloading him, reports SPORT.

It is due to the fact that several Premier League clubs are interested in the 20-year-old left-back, who is protected by a €1 billion release clause. There have been approaches for him in the past from English clubs and there could be interest again come 2024.

For now, though, the response from Barcelona is negative as far as any enquiries regarding Balde are concerned. Manager Xavi Hernandez continues to count on him and is backing him to turn things around and come good.

With the manager willing to trust him, it is up to the player to step up and repay that faith with improved performances.

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