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A. Balde

Alejandro Balde nearing five-year Barcelona contract extension with left back viewed as long-term Jordi Alba replacement

19:27 GMT+3 16/12/2022
Xavi Alejandro Balde Barcelona 2022-23
Teenage left-back Alejandro Balde is set to pledge his long-term future to Barcelona by signing a new five-year contract.
  • Balde set to sign new deal
  • Viewed as long-term replacement for Jordi Alba
  • Alba's contract expires in 2024

WHAT HAPPENED? Balde has broken into the Barcelona setup this season and is being rewarded with a five-year contract extension, Fabrizio Romano has reported. Though nothing has been signed yet, the two sides are very close to agreeing a deal that will keep the left-back at the Camp Nou until 2027. It will include a €500 million release clause, according to SPORT.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: With Jordi Alba's Barcelona career appearing to be coming to a close - his contract expires at the end of the 2023-24 season - Balde could be an excellent in-house replacement. The youth product has made 16 appearances this season and appeared in all four of Spain's World Cup matches.

WHAT THEY SAID?: Though Balde is Alba's presumptive replacement, he has emphasised that he still has a lot to learn from the veteran left back:

"When there are two in the same position, people see it as if it were a war, but no. In the end, if he’s okay, he’s going to make me better. And if I’m fine, I’ll do better for him. It is competition, but it is healthy and good. It’s not bad at all because he makes me better and that’s good."

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR BALDE? The left-back should be in action when Barcelona resume their La Liga campaign against city-rivals Espanyol on December 31.