Sergio Busquets is set to leave Barcelona at the end of the season when his current contract expires and has offered manager Xavi Hernandez his view on which player would be the best replacement.
Xavi has openly admitted that his top priority this summer is to bring in a replacement for Busquets in the summer transfer window, and the midfielder has told RAC1 he has a few ideas regarding replacements.
“As I know him, Rodri – Manchester City – would be my first choice, but I know it’s very complicated. Kimmich and Zubimendi? Maybe Zubimendi fits our style of play more,” he said. “Kimmich is a back-and-forth player with a lot of quality, despite the fact that he was not a centre-half. And there is also the option of Nico, who we have on loan at Valencia.”
Signing Rodri looks almost impossible for Barcelona. The Spain international signed a new five-year deal at Manchester City last summer and is currently on course to win the treble with Pep Guardiola’s side.
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Xavi Talks Busquets Replacements
Xavi has also spoken about potential Busquets replacements and agrees that Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi would be a good idea. The Barca boss told Sport that he has the perfect profile for the Catalan giants, as reported by AS.
“I don’t like to talk about players from other clubs who later get angry with me. I already said that he seems to me a great footballer,” he said. “You have to go for a profile like this, top level. An intelligent player, tactically excellent, winner of duels, who plays well in the air, who is very complete in every way. The minimum level must be 9 out of 10.”
This is not the first time that Xavi has praised Zubimendi. The coach called him an “extraordinary pivot” ahead of the meeting between the two sides at the Camp Nou in May.
Yet landing Zubimendi will not be easy for Barcelona either. The midfielder extended his contract with the Basque side last year and has a release clause set at 60 million euros.
Barcelona Warned Off Martin Zubimendi
Barcelona have also been warned off Zubimendi by Real Sociedad manager Imanol Alguacil. The manager told Marca he is confident his midfielder wants to stay at the club, as reported by the Evening Standard.
“I know what he thinks and what he wants. And I have no doubt that Martin wants to play in the Champions League with us next year,” he said. “Zubimendi has a contract with us. It’s the best place he can be and he wants to be with us.”
Replacing a player of Busquets’ calibre was always going to be a tough ask for Barcelona and has been complicated further by the club’s difficult financial position.
Xavi will know he has his work cut out finding who can come in and take over from a true club legend who won all the major honors available during an 18-year spell at the Camp Nou.