One year ago, Chelsea lost out on young defender Xavier Mbuyamba after his trial at Cobham due to our transfer ban. But now we can made amends as according to a report from Spanish tabloid Sport (via Inside Futbol), Mbuyamba is one of seven under-19 players that Barça will release from their ranks this summer.
Until the COVID-19 pandemic put an early end to the season, Mbuyamba had been a solid contributor to Barcelona’s U19 team, as they ran out winners of the youth league, two points ahead of second-place, Zaragoza. But he’s one of the 14 players Barça had to make a decision over in their U19A squad (and yes, they have a U19B squad as well), with half moving up to their B-team (which is not the U19B squad) and the other half set to be released on June 30, the fiscal end of the season.
It might be weird to see Mbuyamba as one of the ones to miss out, but that might have to do with Barça’s political situation, with Mbuyamba’s agent, Carlos Barros recently discussing how the waters have been muddied within the club for his client. If Mbuyamba is to be released, he would obviously be able to sign for free for any other team. Chelsea are presumably high up the list of potential suitors, with several others — Real Madrid, Juventus and Inter Milan, to name a few — interested as well.
And while it is clear that our focus this summer will be on attacking reinforcements, adding a defensive player to the mix (even if he will not be impactful from the get-go) would not hurt. The upside of investing on Mbuyamba is that he turns out to fully emulate Virgil van Dijk, to whom he draws a lot of comparisons because of height (1.95m) and nationality; but if reaches at least 75% of such heights, we will have a solid player on our hand already!