AC Milan are reportedly set to compete with Barcelona for the signature of Aston Villa youngster Carney Chukwuemeka.
According to The Athletic, the Serie A champions and the La Liga giants are eager to sign the midfielder, whose contract with Steven Gerrard’s side is set to expire next summer. The Premier League side are rumored to be seeking a fee in the region of £20 million for the 18-year-old.
Chukwuemeka rose through the ranks at Aston Villa before making his debut for the club’s senior team during the 2020-21 campaign. He became a regular in Villa’s first team last season, making 13 appearances in all competitions, which included 11 Premier League games.
The teenager caught the attention of both Barcelona and AC Milan through his scintillating performances for England at the 2022 UEFA European Under-19 Championship this summer.
He helped the Three Lions to the trophy by scoring the second goal in his country’s 3-1 extra-time victory over Israel in the final.
Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez has promoted young talent and has been able to get the most out of a number of them during his time as manager. The Spaniard will therefore be keen to continue signing youngsters and promoting players from the club’s youth academy.
Furthermore, the club will be eager to sign a top-quality midfielder to provide cover and competition to the likes of Pedri, Gavi, Frank Kessie, and Sergio Busquets next season.
AC Milan, on the other hand, will be keen to sign an adequate replacement for Frank Kessie, who left the club after the expiration of his contract on June 30. Stefano Pioli’s side will be eager to sign a top-quality midfielder to bolster their chances of defending their Serie A title next season.
Aston Villa are reportedly eager to keep hold of Chukwuemeka as they view him as one for the future. The club have attempted to persuade him to sign a new contract since October, but have thus far failed to do so. They could be forced to cash in on him this summer rather than risk losing him on a free transfer next year.
However, Barcelona and AC Milan are believed to be reluctant to match Villa’s £20 million valuation for the midfielder due to his age, inexperience, and with him having just one year left on his deal.
Barcelona’s move for AC Milan target Carney Chukwuemeka could depend on Frenkide de Jong and Riqui Puig
Barcelona will need to move on at least one of their midfielders if they are to create space in the squad and raise the funds required to sign Chukwuemeka.
Pedri, Gavi, and Nico Gonzalez are seen as the future of the club, while Franck Kessie and Sergio Busquets are seen as immediate starters due to their versatility, physicality, and experience.
As per the Athletic, Barcelona are eager to sell Frenkie de Jong to Manchester United to raise the funds required to pay off their debts and be able to register their new signings. Meanwhile, Riqui Puig was on the fringes of Xavi’s squad last season.
The Spanish tactician has reportedly asked the youngster to secure a move away from the club if he wants to play regular football as per Barcablaugranes. De Jong and Puig’s departure could create space in the Catalan giants’ squad for another midfielder and allow them to compete with AC Milan for Chukwuekmeka’s signature.