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Barcelona set to miss out on £10m prospect likened to Wayne Rooney


Barcelona are set to lose out to Portuguese giants Benfica in the race to sign Argentine prospect Gianluca Prestianni, 90min understands.

The 17-year-old has been turning heads for Velez Sarsfield in Argentina, and has already played 33 times in the country’s Primera Division.

Prestianni, who was born in Argentina but is of Italian descent, is a winger by trade but can also play centrally, and his maturity at such a young age has been likened to Wayne Rooney when he first broke through at Everton and Manchester United.

Velez are now preparing to lose Prestianni in January because of a £10m release clause written into his contract, and sources have confirmed to 90min that Benfica are hoping to win the race for his signature.

That’s despite months of interest from Barcelona, who have seen their La Masia academy churn out talents like Pedri, Gavi, Alejandro Balde and Fermin Lopez in recent times, though Prestianni has not fully committed to Benfica yet.

Enzo Fernandez

Enzo Fernandez is an example of a player who flourished at Benfica and made the club a huge sum of money / Gualter Fatia/GettyImages

Prestianni has also been watched a number of times by Manchester City, Tottenham, Newcastle, West Ham and Wolves, but Benfica are cautiously optimistic that the teenager will see the Estadio da Luz as the best development option for him and ignore the glamour of the Premier League – for now at least.

If Prestianni does opt to join Benfica, he’ll likely be swayed the club’s proven track of record of giving opportunities to young players before they go on to play some of the world’s biggest clubs.

Joao Felix, Enzo Fernandez, Darwin Nunez, Ruben Dias, Goncalo Ramos and Ederson have all benefitted from playing for Benfica, enjoying success with the club prior to sealing big money moves away. Should they receive all add-ons and bonus payments, Benfica will have received over €500m in transfer fees for those six players alone.

Benfica also stand to make huge sums of money of Antonio Silva and Joao Neves – two young Portuguese prospects who are on the shopping list of a number of top teams after establishing themselves as first-team regulars.

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