Sunday Mirror - - Sports - CHRIS HATHERALL

WEST HAM and Brighton are battling to sign Barcelona won­derkid Monchu on loan, as he en­ters the fi­nal year of his con­tract at the Nou Camp.

Cen­tral mid­fielder Monchu, 20, is the cap­tain of Barcelona B, who play in the Third Divi­sion in Spain, and has even drawn com­par­isons to club leg­end Xavi be­cause of his lead­er­ship qual­i­ties and sub­lime tech­nique.

He scored eight goals and pro­vided three as­sists in 28 matches as Barca B nar­rowly missed out on pro­mo­tion.

Cata­lan gi­ants Barcelona want the young­ster to sign a new fouryear con­tract but are will­ing to al­low him to leave on loan, given cer­tain con­di­tions.

Monchu’s wages must be paid in full for a year-long loan move, with an agreed pref­er­en­tial fee of £36mil­lion to buy him per­ma­nently in 2021 – but the deal would have to in­clude a two-year buy-back clause, in case

Barcelona de­cide they wish to re-sign him.

Ju­ven­tus have had an of­fer of £18m plus £8m in ex­tras re­jected. Va­len­cia, Real So­ciedad and Real Betis are also in­ter­ested.

But West Ham and Brighton re­main strong con­tenders and hope that the lure of Premier League foot­ball will tempt the young­ster in their di­rec­tion.

BARCA PAR­CEL Monchu’s a prize as­set

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