Xavi Simons, a 16-year-old held in high regard by Barcelona, has announced that he is to leave the Liga giants.
The announcement, which has been made on the Dutch youngster’s social media accounts, comes as something of a shock, with Simons considered to be one of the hottest prospects within the famed La Masia academy.
He has, however, opted against committing to an extended stay and is reportedly already in Paris ahead of completing a move to Paris Saint-Germain.
According to sources at Barca, the club offered the 16-year-old a €100k-a-season deal, while they were willing to promote him to their Juvenil A team, with talks having kicked off in May.
And while Simons, who is represented by ‘super-agent’ Mino Raiola, has decided to leave, Barca aren’t panicking about the situation.
Indeed, sources have told Goal that the club is counting on the development of Ilaix Moriba, who has already renewed his contract, and England under-16 forward Louie Barry, who has arrived from West Brom amid interest from PSG.
Simons, meanwhile, said in a statement announcing his exit: “Today is not easy, as saying goodbye is one of the hardest things in life and today it’s my turn to say goodbye to what has been my home, my family, my life for as long as I can remember.
“It was a dream come true when I put on my first Barca jersey nine years ago as a pre-benjamin (under-8) player.
“Through the years I have experienced victories and defeats, I have fallen and gotten back up time and time again.
“Through it all, my team-mates, my coaches and the entire staff at La Masia have been there by my side, every single day.
“Even if I am only 16 years old, I have also felt the love and support of hundreds of thousands of Barca fans that wanted me to keep growing and someday make it to the Camp Nou.
“To all of you, I can only say: thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart, I will never forget our time together and will forever cherish the memories.
“As I am about to start a new and exciting adventure away from Barcelona, this club, its people and its fans will always hold a special place in my heart.