On the last day of the transfer window, RB Leipzig managed to confirm the signing of Barcelona youngster Ilaix Moriba.
The Bundesliga side were just one of many clubs who had been linked to the midfielder, and among the competition for the signing, there had been mentions of Tottenham Hotspur as well.
Moriba had only one year left in his contract with Barcelona, and as he was unlikely to renew his deal, he could, of course, be signed for free next summer.
So when interviewed by Bild Sport today, RB Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff explained why they had to pay a fee to secure the 18-year-old’s arrival at the club.
The outlet asked Mintzlaff if Moriba could have gone to Tottenham if the Bundesliga side hadn’t reached an agreement with Barcelona first. The official confirmed that they had to spend €22m to avoid that competition from European sides.
“Well, for one thing, we didn’t want to go to war with FC Barcelona, it’s also a matter of respect. On the other hand, we have seen with other talents that it is often a long way to become a regular for us. So we wanted to start now rather than later.
“And it is true that other clubs, namely top clubs from Europe, were also interested. It was an uphill battle, and it was more about conviction than money.”