BARCELONA are monitoring the progress of Sporting Lisbon’s 16-year-old starlet Joelson Fernandes as they continue to recruit Europe’s best youngsters.
Reports from Sport suggest the Spanish champions are keen on a move for the Portugal Under-16 international who is contracted until 2022.
Fernandes is predominantly a left-winger but can also play as a No10 and is the latest talented young prospect to emerge from the Sporting academy.
Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is the most notable player to have come through Sporting’s system which also nurtured ex-Manchester United star Nani and former Chelsea wide man Ricardo Quaresma.
After scoring five goals in 25 games for Sporting’s Under-23 team Fernandes was promoted to the senior side and trained twice in two days with the squad before they lost their Portuguese Cup semi-final match against Braga.
Fernandes’ progress means he could be in line for a first team debut this season but Barcelona may swoop for the star despite his £38.2million buyout clause.
Sporting are thought to be keen on Barcelona’s own academy product Abel Ruiz but any potential deal for the La Masia star could well see Fernandes move the other way.
The Catalan giants have made it clear they aim to have all Europe’s top young stars at the Nou Camp and will bring in players from elsewhere to complement their homegrown stars.
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Fernandes was born in Guinea-Bissau and was first seen by Sporting scouts aged 11 and could follow in the footsteps of Barcelona’s Ansu Fati, also born in the West African country.
Fati, 17, emigrated to Portugal before moving to Spain and then joined La Masia aged ten.
Last year he graduated into the first team and became Barcelona’s youngest ever goalscorer.
Joelson Fernandes has impressed Barcelona scouts with his performances in the Sporting Lisbon academy[/caption]
This post written by Joshua Graham originally appeared on Football news - transfers, fixtures, scores, pictures | The Sun. Read the full post here.