Barcelona on verge of signing La Liga starlet

Real Betis youngster Fabián Ruiz is on the verge of signing for Barcelona, according to reports.

The 21-year-old has been a breakthrough star in the centre of the Verdiblancos midfield this season and could be a direct replacement for André Gomes.

Gomes has not settled in at Camp Nou since joining after Euro 2016, making only four starts in La Liga under Ernesto Valverde this season is in strongly linked with a move away from the Catalan club.

33-year-old Andrés Iniesta has made 14 starts in midfield this season so Ruiz could also be seen as the long-term replacement for the Spanish legend.

Indeed, Don Balon, who are reporting that Barcelona are closing on a deal for Fabián Ruiz, is to be Iniesta’s long-term successor.

Fabián Ruiz came through the youth academy at Real Betis, making his debut in December 2014 when the club were in the Segunda División.  He made six league appearances during their promotion campaign and a further 12 in La Liga the following season.

After making only four appearances during the first half of last season, Ruiz spent the second half of the 2016-17 campaign with Elche in the second tier.

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde is believed to be an admirer of the starlet.  Should the runaway La Liga leaders sign Ruiz this month he would be the club’s third winter signing, following the arrivals of Philippe Coutinho and Yerry Mina.

Fabián Ruiz has a reported €15 million buyout clause in his contract, which is nothing in today’s market for the Spanish giants.