Barcelona chief 'spotted' in scouting trip to watch Schalke's Leon Goretzka and three more talents

Leon Goretzka's contract is due to expire at the end of the season.Getty

Barcelona's international adviser Ariedo Braida is understood to have watched the Bundesliga 1-1 draw between Schalke 04 and Bayer Leverkusen on Friday night (29 September) amid speculation linking the Catalans with a January move for Leon Goretzka.

Mundo Deportivo says that the Barcelona chief also took advantage of the trip to German to keep tabs on Julian Brandt, Benjamin Henrichs and Goretzka's teammate Max Meyer.

Goretzka has been linked with Barcelona since the summer transfer window as the German international's current contract at Schalke is due to expire at the end of the current season.

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Reports in Germany have suggested Bayern Munich had already reached an agreement in principle for the 22-year-old midfielder to join them as a free-agent in the summer.

However, Mundo Deportivo reported last month that Barcelona was thinking of hijacking that move by trying to get his services in the coming January transfer window – rather than waiting for a big summer battle for his services.

The Spanish publication says that Barcelona were ready to pay around €10m or €15m (£13.3m, $17.6m) with Schalke keen on completing such a deal in order to avoid losing him for nothing in the summer and to a domestic rival.

Mundo Deportivo reiterated that the Barcelona board see Goretzka as a "great transfer opportunity" due to his contract situation despite having the position well covered with Paulinho.

Furthermore, the midfielder took the chance to impress the Barcelona international adviser by scoring a stunning free-kick to put Schalke ahead before Leon Bailey netted the draw.

Mundo Deportivo added, though, that Goretzka was not the only reason behind Braida's trip to Germany as the Barcelona chief also was taking a look at Henrichs, Brandt and Meyer.

Henrichs, 20, plays as a full-back for Leverkusen and is among the 25 contenders to win the 2017 'Golden Boy' award - given to young players in Europe under the age of 21 - alongside the likes of Kylian Mbappé and Ousmane Dembélé.

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22-year-old winger Brandt is already considered as one of the most promising talents to emerge from the German academy and in the summer was already linked with a big money move to Liverpool and Bayern Munich.

Meanwhile, Mundo Deportivo says that Barcelona have been monitoring Meyers' development since the under-17 European Championship back in 2012.

The Spanish publication claims that Barcelona are tracking the development of a number of European talents in order to avoid the troubles they had in the summer to sign the likes of Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool or Angel Di Maria from Paris Saint-Germain.

Ernesto Valverde's top priority target is said to be the signing of a world class centre-back but they are also looking to sign a new forward to complement Luis Suarez.

In this sense, Mundo Deportivo recently reported that the Catalans are also closely monitoring RB Leipzig starlet Timor Werner.

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