'The same way': Guillem Balague says reported Liverpool transfer target has done something just like Lionel Messi
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'The same way': Guillem Balague says reported Liverpool transfer target has done something just like Lionel Messi

Spanish journalist Guillem Balague has compared reported Liverpool target Gavi’s rise at Barcelona to that of Lionel Messi.

Balague was quoted by BBC Sport as part of their “Wunderkids” series. The journalist claims that the 17-year-old has been accepted into the first-team just like Messi was.

“His idol is Andres Iniesta but I compare his progression to Lionel Messi, who made his debut at 17 as well,” said Balague.

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“There was absolutely no problem with Messi being accepted in the first team, in the same way Gavi was accepted.”

Journalist Gerard Romero has now claimed via Twitter that the young midfielder already has a contract offer on the table from Liverpool. With that contract currently expiring in 2023, Barcelona are sweating over a new deal.

But according to Balague, Liverpool shouldn’t waste their time trying to tempt the Spain international to England. That’s because the player believes he has a big future at Barcelona.

“[Barca] trust he will play over 100 games for the club. He has a contract until 2023 and they want to renew it,” says the journalist.

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“He has a 15m euro buy-out clause and he wants to stay at the Nou Camp. He believes he will be a legend at Barcelona.”

Despite this assertion, the fact remains that Gavi’s contract is in a precarious position heading into the last year. Barcelona have well documented financial issues to contend with and it may be worth Liverpool testing the player’s resolve.

A special talent

To be playing regularly in Barcelona’s midfield at 17 is quite an exceptional achievement. The Catalan club are a far-cry from their glory days in the early 2000’s, but they’re still one of the biggest clubs on the planet.

Any comparison to Messi should always be taken with a pinch of salt. The Barca that Messi broke into were far stronger than their current iteration.

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But given the level of talent in the La Masia academy, it still takes a special player to stand out and become a first-team player so quickly.

To come from virtually nowhere to be starting regularly under a coach with the playing pedigree of Xavi, no less, is remarkable.

Gavi looks set to be a great player in the future. Despite the links, it looks unlikely that his development will take place at Anfield, but you never know.

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