Villarreal are close to winning the race to sign Barcelona youngster Ilias Akhomach, according to the latest in Catalonia.
The 19-year-old winger has been highlighted as one of the most talented in La Liga, but having failed to agree terms with Barcelona, is now available on a free this summer.
Akhomach has had a group of high-profile suitors in recent months, including Leeds United, Arsenal, Milan and Sevilla, but Sport say that the most likely to come out on top are Villarreal.
They say that the Yellow Submarine could complete the deal in the coming days, with Akhomach prioritising his development and their ability to introduce him to La Liga football. While he may originally sign as a Villarreal B player, they have promised he will be part of the first team from the off.
They also see him as playing across the pitch, both out wide and in the middle. Looking at the recent progress Samuel Chukwueze, Nico Jackson and Alex Baena have made, Ilias has decided that it would be the best career move.
His exit has caused a stir within Barcelona, who are frustrated that one of their best talents is exiting, and more so without a fee. For the likes of Villarreal, being able to hold up examples of young players thriving is key to attracting fresh talent, and their current side is full of young attacking talent.