Premier League giants Manchester United and Manchester City are on red alert after the transfer of Croatian wonderkid Alen Halilovic, described as the ‘next Lionel Messi’, to Barcelona was thrown into doubt.
Halilovic, 17, was poised to join Barcelona this summer after a €2.2m fee was agreed between the teenager’s current club Dinamo Zagreb and the Catalan giants. However, that transfer is likely to be cancelled as FIFA have handed the reigning La Liga champions a year-long transfer embargo after finding them guilty of breaching rules regarding the signing of players aged under 18.
And while Halilovic’s transfer is not under investigation, the fact a deal was agreed outside of the transfer window means the youngster could be left without a club this summer, as his current deal with Dinamo expires at the end of the season.
The Croatia international, though, will have a long list of potential suitors willing to offer him a contract for the 2014/15 campaign - and beyond. According to the Manchester Evening News, both United and City could join a number of other top European clubs in the race for his signature.
Halilovic, however, appeared to have his heart set on joining the likes of Neymar, Andres Iniesta and, of course, Messi himself at the Camp Nou. And with Barcelona expected to appeal against the ban, it’s unlikely that the Croatian starlet will commit to a deal with another club before the outcome of that appeal is confirmed.