Barcelona youngster backed to step up in wake of 25m sale of key defender

On Thursday, it was confirmed that Luiz Felipe had left Real Betis to join Al-Ittihad, becoming the latest player to make the move to Saudi Arabia.

Welcome Luiz Felipe 🐅

— Ittihad Club (@ittihad_en) September 7, 2023

Betis will receive €25m as part of the deal, although they cannot spend any of it immediately, with the Spanish transfer window having closed last Friday.

Felipe’s departure means that head coach Manuel Pellegrini has only two senior central defenders at his disposal: German Pezzella and Marc Bartra, who returned to the club during the summer after terminating his contract at Trabzonspor.

Betis also have Chadi Riad at their disposal. The youngster joined on a season-long loan deal from Barcelona during the summer, with the Andalusians also retaining a buy option.

Sport say that Felipe’s departure could allow Riad to establish himself at his new club, with Betis competing in the Europa League this season, as well as LaLiga and the Copa del Rey. As such, he is expected to see a decent amount of playing time.

Barcelona will be keeping a close eye on Riad’s development at Real Betis, although they will be fully aware that they could lose him on a permanent basis next summer.