Transfer Rumors: Arsenal, Chelsea Want Barcelona's "Next Messi" Gerard Deulofeu

Will Tidey@willtideySenior Manager, GlobalSeptember 6, 2011

Arsenal and Chelsea are reportedly among the clubs lining up to sign Barcelona teenager Gerard Deulofeu.

According to, Barca are desperate to keep the 17-year-old, who's been dubbed "the next Lionel Messi," but they can't offer him a professional contract until he turns 18 next March.

As things stand, the forward is on a youth contract with a £3 million buy-out clause—a veritable bargain in today's market for a player of such potential. Arsenal and Chelsea are said to be monitoring the situation, and we can surely expect the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United to be linked to Deulofeu over the next few months.

Arsenal watched Deulofeu at the European Under-19 Championships this summer, where he furthered his reputation in the colors of winners Spain.

Deulofeu joined the Barcelona academy at age nine. He has made a friendly appearance for the first team but has not yet appeared alongside Messi and Co. in a competitive fixture.