‘Didn’t want to go to war’ – Club chief explains how they beat Spurs to midfielder

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Ilaix Moriba
David Ramos/Getty Images

RB Leipzig’s CEO, Oliver Mintzlaff, has admitted that the German club had to see off competition from several European clubs to snap up rumoured Tottenham target, Ilaix Moriba this summer.

Moriba won several admirers after breaking into the Barcelona first-team last season but a contract standoff with the Catalan club over the summer saw the midfielder being frozen out of the first-team picture by Ronald Koeman.

Tottenham were linked with a move for the 18-year-old in the final few days of the transfer window, with reports indicating at the time that the North London club were the front-runners for the La Masia graduate’s signature ahead of Leipzig.

However, it was the Bundesliga club who won the race for Moriba, managing to strike a €22m (£18.7m) deal with Barcelona for the player.

Some sources from Spain suggested the teenager prefered a move to Leipzig over Spurs since he believed he was more likely to get regular game time in Germany and also wanted to play Champions League football.

Mintzlaff has now admitted that Leipzig faced an uphill battle in getting a deal for Moriba over the line. 

He told Bild Sport: “Well, for one thing, we didn’t want to go to war with FC Barcelona, it’s also a matter of respect.

“On the other hand, we have seen with other talents that it is often a long way to become a regular for us. So we wanted to start now rather than later.

“And it is true that other clubs, namely top clubs from Europe, were also interested. It was an uphill battle, and it was more about conviction than money.”

Spurs Web Opinion 

One can understand why Moriba would have preferred a move to Leipzig as the Bundesliga can have proven to be an ideal environment for talented, young players to develop into top stars. 

The Guinean is of a similar profile to Pape Sarr and so I wonder if Paratici decided to prioritise a move for the Metz starlet over the La Masia graduate.

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