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Barcelona 'open talks over new deal for 20-year-old midfielder'

Barcelona 'open talks over new deal for 20-year-old midfielder'
© Reuters
Barcelona reportedly enter contract discussions with 20-year-old midfielder Marc Casado, whose current terms expire in the summer.

Barcelona have reportedly begun talks to extend the contract of one of their promising academy graduates.

Twenty-year-old midfielder Marc Casado has increased his senior experience under Xavi this term, having made his debut for the first team in a Champions League clash with Viktoria Plzen last season.

Casado has since appeared twice more in Europe's top competition, coming off the bench in group-stage clashes with Shakhtar Donetsk and Royal Antwerp during the current campaign.

In addition, the 2003-born lynchpin earned his first La Liga minutes off the bench in last month's win over Atletico Madrid, before also coming on as a late substitute in the recent beating of Cadiz.

Amid his frequent training and matchday appearances with the seniors, Casado has served as captain for the Barcelona B squad in the 2023-24 season, making 21 appearances in the third tier of Spanish football.

Barcelona coach Xavi on April 10, 2024© Reuters

Barcelona discussing three-year extension with Casado

The 20-year-old has set up one goal in that time, largely playing as a defensive midfielder but also operating as a full-back, although he has also been booked 11 times in the domestic season.

As things stand, Casado could walk out of the Camp Nou door when his deal expires at the end of the season, although Barcelona can trigger a 12-month extension to avoid losing him for nothing.

Rather than just keeping him on the books for 12 more months, journalist Fabrizio Romano reports that the club have now entered discussions with Casado's entourage over a new long-term agreement.

The reigning Spanish champions supposedly want to tie the former Spain Under-17 international down for another three years until 2027, as they consider him to be a key part of the club's future.

Negotiations are believed to be progressing well with the representatives of Casado, who joined Barcelona's famed La Masia academy in 2016 and was on the bench for Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final exit to Paris Saint-Germain.

Barcelona still targeting new midfielder this summer

Even though Casado's path to the starting lineup is currently blocked by Ilkay Gundogan, Sergi Roberto, Fermin Lopez, Pedri, Gavi, Frenkie de Jong and Oriol Romeu, a new midfielder will be sought by the Catalans this summer.

Selection woes have often seen former Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen fill in as the Blaugrana's number six in 2024, while club captain Roberto is out of contract at the end of June.

The futures of Fermin and De Jong remain clouded in uncertainty as well, and several targets for the number six role have been mooted, namely Everton's Amadou Onana, Real Sociedad's Martin Zubimendi and Newcastle United's Bruno Guimaraes.

Barcelona's financial situation remains delicate heading into the summer window, though, so all three aforementioned men could prove too pricy, and the same can be said for Bayern Munich's Joshua Kimmich.

Alternatively, the Blaugrana could try to save some money by pursuing Girona midfielder Aleix Garcia, who was once on the books at Manchester City and made nine senior appearances for the reigning English champions.

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Barcelona's Fermin Lopez celebrates scoring their first goal on March 12, 2024
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