Defender Chelsea 'pushed to sign' last summer is now worth £855m

Pau Cubarsi has broken into the Barcelona team this season aged just 17. (Image: Getty)

Chelsea may have to think twice if they go back in for Barcelona starlet Pau Cubarsi with his release clause set to be lifted to a staggering £855million. Last summer, the Blues were again heavily linked with a move for the 17-year-old centre-back, following reports in Spain they had ‘pushed to sign’ him before he’d even made a first-team appearance.

The Catalan giants responded to the initial speculation by extending his contract until June 2026. However, his release clause was said to be worth only £13m, meaning he still represented an affordable option for the Blues and other interested parties.

The notion of him being sold for a moderate fee has now been banished though. According to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, Barca have moved to emphatically ensure they will control the long-term future of the Spain age-grade international.

Romano has confirmed that the player’s new release clause stands at a staggering £855m (€1billion). The final details of the agreement former player Deco has played a key role in are being ironed out with an official announcement due in the coming weeks.

Curbasi battles with Kylian Mbappe in the Champions League quarter final. (Image: Getty)

Nou Camp legend Deco became sporting director at his former club last August. He’s since targeted developing young players with the club, and has been instrumental in persuading Xavi to remain at the helm as manager for another season.

And his latest move with Curbasi indicates just how highly he rates the teenager, who made his first-team debut in the Copa Del Rey in January and is still only 16. His first La Liga start against Real Betis duly followed, and in March his stock grew further with a man of the match display against Napoli in the Champions League.

That last-16 game made him the youngest ever player, at 17 years and 50 days, to make his competition debut in the knockout phase. And four weeks later, he broke another record as the youngest person to start in the quarter finals, with his side beaten over two legs by PSG.

Chelsea’s summer spending was already due to be restricted anyway this summer, with the club battling not to breach Premier League rules over profit and sustainability. And their failure to qualify for the Champions League next season represents a further financial blow.

And with a move for Cubarsi now essentially impossible, Todd Boehly may live to rue not pursuing the player with more conviction last year. The Blues are already guaranteed to lose one central defender in the summer, with Thiago Silva confirming he’ll leave west London when his contract expires at the end of the campaign.