Bayer Leverkusen attacker Florian Wirtz has emerged as a transfer target for La Liga giants Barcelona, according to Fabrizio Romano (via @ManagingBarca on Twitter).
The Blaugrana raided Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich for Robert Lewandowski last summer. They forked out a sum of €45 million to lure the Polish striker to the Camp Nou.
It appears Barcelona are prepared to import another star from the German top flight this year. According to the aforementioned source, they're among the clubs keeping tabs on Leverkusen attacker Wirtz.
Wirtz rose to prominence after making his senior debut for Leverkusen at the age of 17. He made his first appearance for the club in their 4-1 win against Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga in May 2020.
The attacker has since gone on to establish himself as an important player for Die Werkself. He has made 86 appearances across competitions for the club, scoring 21 goals and assisting 26.
Wirtz is so good that Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso has drawn parallels between him and Lionel Messi. The Spanish tactician waxed lyrical about the teenager for his cleverness. He said:
"There are good players ,and there are players who look good on the pitch. The player who looks good does things that are nice, but not necessarily efficient."
"Why is Messi so good? Because he knows how and when to play simple passes. Messi says: 'You're in a better position? Here, there you have the ball! It's not always about making the most brilliant move, but the best and smartest. Florian can do that. That's why he's so good."
It now remains to be seen if Barcelona can acquire Wirtz. The 19-year-old will certainly not come cheap, as he has a contract with Leverkusen till the summer of 2027.
Barcelona face competition from Real Madrid for Wirtz
The Blaugrana are not the only La Liga giants that have taken note of Wirtz's abilities. They will have to fend off competition from arch-rivals Real Madrid to acquire his services.
According to Romano (via @MadridXtra on Twitter), Los Blancos are also monitoring the Germany international. The race for the player appears to be heating up ahead of the summer transfer window.
There are likely to be more clubs in the race to secure Wirtz's services should Leverkusen be ready to sell him. German giants Bayern were credited with an interest in him in October last year.
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