With age no longer on the side of Barcelona striker, Luis Surez, slowing down the Uruguayan considerably, Barca is now looking for a long-standing replacement for the former Pichichi winner. Their searchlight has turned to the direction of German-born Nigerian youth prodigy, Karim Adeyemi
With La Masia not producing the players for Barcelona as before, the Catalan giants have now resorted to investing in young players in Europe and other parts of the globe where they can get promising players.
Barcelona are prepared to splash out €8m to sign Germany Under-17 international striker Karim Adeyemi. The 17-year-old joined Red Bull Salzburg in the summer of 2018 and is currently playing for their feeder club FC Liefering in the second tier of Austrian football.
He has netted 11 league goals for the club and has also starred in the UEFA Youth League for Salzburg, netting against both Liverpool and Genk.
Adeyemi has also been prolific at youth international level for Germany – he impressed for Die Mannshaft’s U-16 team and then netted three goals in seven caps for the U-17 side.
He is said by the report to be the ‘bet’ of Barcelona director of youth football Patrick Kluivert and they are said to view his potential to being similar to that of 16-year-old rising star Ansu Fati.
Adeyemi, who has a Nigerian father and Romanian mother began his youth career at Bayern Munich and went on to spend six years at SpVgg Unterhaching.
Barcelona are trying to replenish their young attacking options after seeing the success of Fati this season, but Salzburg who signed him for €3.5 million in 2018 are not ready to make the signing of Adeyemi easy on Barcelona.
His contract at Salzburg runs until the end of the 2020-21 season, although for the price he is rumoured to go for, that contract won’t matter. The goal for Barcelona appears to be to grab a few U-20 strikers and a few strikers in their 20s, creating a diversity of playstyles in different age groups.
The former Bayern Munich star, Adeyemi has been reportedly named among the most experienced young players in Europe, having made the cut after being picked by CIES Football Observatory from 22 European competitions per year of birth.
The rankings were compiled using what is said to be exclusive methodology weighting domestic league minutes played by footballers during the last two years according to the sporting strength of employer teams.
For players born in or after 2001, Red Bull Salzburg striker Adeyemi ranked eighteenth and he was the only player of Nigerian descent that made the list as none made the cut for the 1998, 1999 and 2000 age groups.
In eight outings for Germany’s U-16 and U-17 national teams, the center-forward has found the net twice.
Adeyemi started his career at Bayern Munich before moving to SpVgg Unterhaching and was snapped by Red Bull Salzburg in the summer of 2018.
According to the report on El Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona are said to be ready to pay eight million euros for the signing of Adeyemi. And should the Catalan giants go on to pay this amount, then Karim Adeyemi will become the most expensive U-18 player of Nigerian descent in history.
Meanwhile, the attention of the eggheads of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) had been called to Adeyemi for early courting about his international future at the senior level, in spite of having played for Germany U-16 and U-17.
Adeyemi was born in Germany to a Nigerian father and a Romanian mother and is therefore eligible to play for Nigeria at the senior level.