Barcelona are reportedly on the verge of signing Theo Hernandez from Atletico Madrid ahead of the reopening of the transfer window

Spanish publication Sport have reported that Barcelona are leading the race to sign Theo Hernandez from Atletico Madrid in the summer. Real Madrid and Liverpool are also interested in landing the French under-20 defender.

Hernandez progressed through the ranks at Atletico Madrid before being sent on loan to newly promoted Alaves at the start of this season. And in what has been a remarkable season for the minnows, the 19-year-old has been one of the many success stories.

Now a mainstay at the back for Alaves, Hernandez has made quite the impression with his solid displays at the back as well as his contributions in the final third, with a goal and four assists to show for his efforts.

The youngster has missed just five games for the club this season, and has been instrumental in their rise to tenth in the La Liga table. Alaves have also shocked everyone with their progression into the final of the Copa Del Rey, and Hernandez has, again, played a key role in their cup campaign.

Set to play alongside Neymar next season? (Photo courtesy - Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Set to play alongside Neymar next season? (Photo courtesy – Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Having emerged as one of the most exciting young prospects in Europe, he has some of the biggest clubs in the continent vying for his signature as well. Among these, the main contenders to sign him are Liverpool, Real Madrid and Barcelona.

At Liverpool, the struggles of Alberto Moreno have forced Jurgen Klopp to play James Milner as a makeshift left-back this season. But while the Englishman has been reliable in his new role, he is on the wrong side of 30, which is why Hernandez has been identified as a long-term solution for the left side of the Liverpool defence.

At Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane has been laying the plans to find a long-term successor for veteran left-back Marcelo. The Brazilian is only 28, but the burden of competing on three fronts has taken a toll on him, and the Real Madrid boss has thus identified Hernandez as a viable option to become Marcelo’s understudy.

And it is the prospect of not getting regular game time at Real Madrid which has prompted Hernandez to consider Barcelona as the right place for him. The club’s sporting director Robert Fernandez has made it clear that he will play regularly for the Blaugranas, as his versatility makes him a candidate for several roles.

Also, with Jordi Alba rumoured to be on the verge of a summer exit from Camp Nou, Hernandez could well become the first-choice left-back for Barcelona. With the teenager eager to earn a callup to France’s 2018 World Cup squad, he is of the belief that the switch to Camp Nou would be the best move for him.

All three sides are prepared to pay Hernandez’s €24 million release clause. But with Barcelona being at the front of the queue to land him, it remains to be seen if either Real Madrid or Liverpool can do something to change the teenager’s mind.

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