Barcelona and Real Madrid eyeing young Serbia striker Matija Popovic

Barcelona and Real Madrid eyeing young Serbia striker Matija Popovic

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The 17-year-old is out of contract at the end of the year and is a potential bargain for big clubs

Barcelona's difficult economic situation means that the club's sporting management is prioritising players for the future and those who can arrive on a free transfer. And in the youth team of Partizan Belgrade is a centre-forward who meets these two parameters: Matija Popovic.

Popovic is a 17-year-old striker, 1.87m tall, who is astonishing not only for his goalscoring ability, but also for his football skills. This year he has 21 goals and five assists in 25 games, numbers that have caught the attention of Barça's sporting management, according to a report by Italian journalist Gianluca di Marzo.

The German-born Serbian could also arrive at zero cost, as his contract expires in just over two months, on 31 December. In other words, Barça could try to incorporate him in the next winter market to incorporate him into their reserve team or look for other formulas, such as leaving him on loan at Partizan Belgrade, as they have done with Vítor Roque.

The operation needs to be done quickly because Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund also have Popovic on their agenda. The Germans are real specialists in discovering new talents and in the 'Casa Blanca' they have been pursuing Blaugrana targets for some time now. This is what they did last summer with Arda Güler, with whom Barça had very advanced negotiations.

It is not the first time that Barça and Madrid have fought for the same promise. Florentino Pérez never forgave himself for letting Neymar slip through his fingers and since then he has dedicated himself to trying to dynamite all the future operations of the Blaugrana sporting management.

Popovic made his mark at the last European Under-17 Championship, where Serbia took on Lamine Yamal's Spain in the group stage. The Partizan Belgrade player set up Maksimovic for the goal against Spain (1-1) that sealed qualification for both teams.

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