Barcelona a step away from signing Sao Paulo teen Gustavo Maia

Barcelona are ‘a step away’ from signing Sao Paulo’s highly-rated teenager Gustavo Maia, who has been strongly linked with a move to Liverpool.

Diario Sport cite a report from Brazilian media outlet UOL which claims the 19-year-old – who is yet to make his senior debut for the club – is close to a switch to the Camp Nou.

Maia is known as a pacey forward with strong finishing ability and an eye for a pass and it now appears likely that he won’t play professionally in Brazil before his switch to Europe.

A recent report in Marca claimed that the teenager was also attracting interest from other clubs including European champions Liverpool and Atleti.

The Blaugrana have reportedly agreed to pay an initial €1M for Maia, with a further €3.5M to secure 70% of his economic rights.

The player’s agent Nilson Moura has said: “The person who saw him was a scout from Barcelona. We started talking and that possibility of trying to bring him up arose. André Cury had no participation. Negotiation went directly with the club.

“They did not even intend to close anything now but since there was interest from other clubs such as Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool , they hurried.”

In March, Sao Paulo executive manager Alexandre Passaro told an interview with ESPN Brazil, via Diario AS, that negotiations have already begun.

The report states that Barcelona were happy to pay the initial €1M, but have since by delayed by the restructuring of the payment schedule.

However, that is not expected to force the deal to collapse, with Barcelona set to secure a majority ownership transfer, with Sao Paulo retaining a 30% stake in the highly-rated forward.

Maia has impressed for the club’s underage sides, as well as the Brazilian Under-16 and Under-17 sides, but he is yet to make a senior appearance.

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