Chelsea unilaterally extend contract of 21-year-old fullback amid Barcelona interest

Barcelona target Ian Maatsen
Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images

Alejandro Balde’s phenomenal growth in the last season means FC Barcelona have a long-term asset whom they can fully rely on for this position.

However, with the highly congested seasons that footballers have to play through, Barcelona will also need a worthy replacement for Balde to ensure they remain competitive at the left-back position even in Balde’s absence.

Currently, Marcos Alonso is Xavi’s man to replace Balde whenever he is injured or needs rest. However, Alonso’s contract runs out in a year, and while his contract can be extended if he agrees to lower his salary, the Catalans are still looking for other possible players to support Balde in the market.

Chelsea unilaterally renew Maatsen

As already reported here, one such player that caught Barcelona’s attention in this regard is Ian Maatsen. The 21-year-old left-back was a particularly attractive target for Barcelona as his contract was ending in the coming summer.

However, SPORT now reports that Chelsea have unilaterally renewed the youngster’s contract, specifically to ensure that he does not leave for free for one of the several teams interested in him.

Previously, Maatsen had rejected two renewal offers from Chelsea and was aware that the Blues were trying to renew him only to be able to get something for him from the interested clubs. West Ham and Burnley were interested in signing him last summer, but nothing materialized.

Other options for Barcelona

Barcelona had received very good reports on the player for some years now, and the Catalans were interested in getting him on a free as a market opportunity.

The youngster had impressed during his loan at Burnley but has not gotten significant minutes at Chelsea, having played only eighty-one minutes with the London club, despite being frequently called up for international duties.

With this renewal, Barcelona’s interest in the youngster is expected to subside. Meanwhile, Barcelona were also keeping an eye on Valentin Barco from Boca Juniors, but he is also linked closely with Manchester City.

Juan Miranda is another player for this position that Barcelona will try to get as his contract expires with Real Betis, but will have to compete with AC Milan for his signing.

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