Speaking in an interview on OnzeTV3, Enric Masip, the advisor to Barcelona president Joan Laporta has claimed that there was a serious threat of teenage duo Alejandro Balde and Lamine Yamal leaving the club in the summer.
Balde enjoyed a stunning breakthrough campaign last season with Barcelona and has become the undisputed starter at left-back.
Meanwhile, Yamal has emerged as the breakout star of the current campaign, shining brightly both at the club and the international level, despite being just 16 years old.
Balde, Yamal, could have left
Naturally, the La Masia duo have attracted suitors from elsewhere and Masip revealed that the threat of the pair leaving the club this past summer was very real.
“Lamine Yamal and Balde were in serious danger of leaving Barça. There is a club that wanted to sign Balde and Lamine. I will not mention their name,” he said.
However, Masip went on to reveal that Laporta’s good relationship with Jorge Mendes, who represents both Balde and Yamal, played a key role in the pair staying at the club.
“The president’s relationship with Jorge Mendes is the reason why Alejandro Balde and Lamine Yamal are staying at Barça,” he added.
While Masip does not mention the name of the club that tried to sign Balde and Yamal, recent reports have suggested that Manchester City had shown an interest in the pair, which had caused some tensions between the two clubs.
New contracts imminent
Having stayed put, both Balde and Yamal are poised to sign new contracts with Barcelona imminently.
An agreement is already in place for Balde to renew his deal until 2028 while Yamal will pen a three-year deal until 2026, with both contracts shielded by a €1 billion release clause.
The signing and announcement of the deals could take place in the coming days once the duo return from national team duty.