La Masia graduate and former FC Barcelona midfielder Ilaix Moriba has left Camp Nou to join Bundesliga outfit, RB Leipzig. The youngster made the move to Germany on deadline day for a deal worth €16 million but could easily rise to €22m with bonuses.
The dynamic midfielder attracted interest from clubs like Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur but he chose RB Leipzig as the next step in his development. The deal did a lot of eyebrows as some of them expected him to join the Premier League. Therefore Moriba explained his decision to join Die Rotten Bullen.
“I’m very happy to be able to join RB Leipzig,” Moriba told the club’s official website. “It’s a very exciting club, one that has always preferred to play attacking football, which fits perfectly to me.
“I’m confident that Leipzig is the right place for me to take the next step in my career and continue my development, which is what informed my decision.
“Now, my full focus is on settling in at the club, within the team and the city in order to be able to play to my best as quickly as possible. We have big goals this season and I can’t wait to take on this challenge at Leipzig.”
The Guinean midfielder learnt the ropes at the fabled La Masia academy. There he played for almost all the age group teams before featuring for Barca B. He even played in the EUFA Youth League. His dynamic approach and versatility to play in multiple roles caught the attention of Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman. Hence he made his debut for Blaugrana in January this year. He went on to feature in 18 matches for the Catalans and was tipped as one of the best players to come out of the academy in recent years.
Moriba’s versatility allowed him to fill up for any three midfielders in Koeman’s system. The youngster at times acted as a backup for Sergio Busquets but has also played in other roles replacing the likes of Pedri and Frenkie De Jong.
His future at Barcelona went south in no time after he asked for a hike in his wages. The club and player’s representatives failed to reach a middle ground over the contract negotiations hence leaving the club was in the best interest of both parties. His contract was all set to expire next summer therefore the Catalans decided to cash in on him.
Leipzig lost their club captain Marcel Sabitzer as the Austrian joined Bayern Munich. Therefore they have brought Moriba to replace the 27-year-old in midfield. While the youngster has slightly different traits in comparison to Sabitzer, still he will be a very valuable addition to Jesse Marsch’s midfield.