FC Barcelona are reported to be very interested in signing Newell’s Old Boys and Argentina u17s captain Juan Sebastián Sforza.
Sforza has been tipped as a future star and is a creative midfielder with a wide passing range. He captained his country in the FIFA u17 World Cup although it was a disappointing campaign for the Albiceleste as they were eliminated by rivals Paraguay in the round of 16.
On Tuesday 3 March, Sforza was called up to play with Newell’s senior players in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Central Córdoba de Rosario in a surprise move which may suggest he was being looked at by scouts from Barcelona. The Catalan club were planning to look at Sforza at the Torneo di Viareggio tournament in Italy but that is now under threat due to the widespread Coronavirus crisis.
On Wednesday, Newell’s Vice-President Cristian D’Amico acknowledged that they were in talks with Barcelona on the Al Fondo De La Red radio programme on a local station in Rosario.
“We are proud that an important team are looking at the youth players in our academy. It suggests that Newell’s is a window of talent for international football.”Cristian D’Amico – Newell’s Vice-President
D’Amico went on to say that there was no deal in place yet for the sale of Sforza, who is represented by Matias Messi, brother of Lionel Messi.
“There is still no agreement with Barcelona. Until the papers are signed, there is no need to move forward”.Cristian D’Amico – Newell’s Vice-President
In the event of any deal, Newell’s Old Boys are unlikely to make the same mistake they made with letting Lionel Messi go to Barcelona, and in more recent times, the low return made on the sale of Lisandro Martínez, now of AFC Ajax.
This week, A Bola in Portugal reported that Newell’s want to make Cristian Lema, currently on loan from Benfica, a permanent addition and this might cost the club around €2.5million. Under normal circumstances, this would be a huge fee for Newell’s to pay any club but the sale of Sforza may facilitate this deal.
In any case, Newell’s are likely to focus heavily on add-on clauses that tie Barcelona to future payments in the event that Sforza goes on to become a senior player and full international.
In related news, it was reported on Wednesday that another European club are interested in a current teammate of Sforza’s. Fellow Argentina u17 international Martín Bellotti is currently being coveted by Italian side Parma, according to Mundo Deportivo.