A number of top Premier League clubs are tracking Barcelona youngster Abel Ruiz, as the 17-year-old continues to impress in India at the Under-17 World Cup.
The Mirror report that Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City are all keeping tabs on the teenager – who has a release clause of just £3m in his deal at the Camp Nou. The Catalan giants are working on formalising a new deal for the youngster but, with the Blues and Gunners already having made contact, they face a hard fight to keep hold of their rising star.
Ruiz told Sport last week that he looks up to Robert Lewandowski as the leading striker in the world, saying: “I’m a player with good finishing, quite direct, I bear the ball well with my back to goal. I consider myself a complete forward. I’m focused on Lewandowski, for me he’s the most complete forward there is.”
Asked outright who he would consider the best striker in the world, he repeated: “I’m sure about this, it’s Lewandowski.”
He also discussed his future at the Camp Nou, saying: “I’ve always told Barcelona I wanted to stay here as long as they want me, and I’ll stay like that until I think they don’t have confidence in me. Clearly [it is a dream to play for the first team]. If I’ve stayed here it’s because I want to arrive at Camp Nou. It’s a dream that we have since we’re in the academy and I hope it comes true.
Discussing the club’s youth system, which has been criticised for producing fewer stars in recent years, he said: “Whoever criticises them is mistaken. When the teams travel to play tournaments, they win nearly all of them. Everyone can think what they want but we know we have a great youth system. You don’t have to defend it, it defends itself.”