European football powerhouse FC Barcelona have entered the fray in the pursuit of Nigeria’s U17 right-back sensation Yahaya Lawali, who captured the attention of top clubs across Europe during the U17 Africa Cup of Nations (U17 AFCON), Soccernet.ng reports.
Despite Nigeria’s agonizing exit from the U17 AFCON following a 1-2 loss to Burkina Faso in the quarterfinals, Lawali’s performances in four games have left a lasting impression.
The 16-year-old showcased his talent and versatility, earning Man of the Match honours against Zambia and Morocco.
According to AclSports, FC Barcelona are monitoring Lawali’s progress, while French Ligue 1 clubs RC Lens, Olympique Lyon, and Strasbourg appear to be leading the race to secure his signature.
Lawali’s ability to play as a right-back, left-back, central midfielder, and winger has made him an attractive prospect for these clubs.
Lawali had been on the radar of several clubs after he provided three assists to earn a place in the Team of the Tournament during the WAFU B regional U17 qualifying tournament, where Nigeria emerged victorious.
The youngster continued his excellent contributions during the U17 AFCON, as he played every minute of Nigeria’s four games before the team’s premature exit.
His corner kick led to Nigeria’s first equalizing goal against South Africa, and he showcased his attacking prowess with quick crosses and defensive solidity throughout the tournament.
Despite Nigeria’s quarterfinal exit, Lawali’s was included in the CAF Best XI for the group stage – the only Nigerian to make the list.