Real Madrid and Manchester City are among the frontrunners to sign FC Tokyo forward Takefusa Kubo this summer, according to reports.
El Mundo Deportivo cite a report in Japanese outlet NikkanSports which claims Madrid and City are the two favourites, despite Paris Saint-Germain also being in the running.
The attack-minded player spent four years in the Blaugrana’s La Masia youth academy but had to leave the club in 2015 when Barcelona were sanctioned for signing underage players illegally.
Kubo, who has been nicknamed ‘the Japanese Messi’, then signed for FC Tokyo but he celebrates his 18th birthday today and is subsequently available to return to European football.
The Japan Under-20 international is said to have caught the attention of sporting directors of ‘Europe’s biggest clubs’, but the Blaugrana are said to have dropped out of the running.
José Ángel Sánchez, general director of Los Blancos, is already said to have held meeting with the representatives of the player.
Kubo has netted six goals across 30 appearances for the Japanese club.