Barcelona Want To Spend $47M on a New Xavi: Report


Getty Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez at the Camp Nou in 2011

Barcelona president Joan Laporta reportedly wants to bring in Ajax’s Netherlands international Ryan Gravenberch to the Camp Nou to be the club’s ‘new Xavi’ in midfield.

The 19-year-old is already “considered one of the great stars of world football in the near future” and “has a similar profile” to the Barcelona legend, according to Ignasi Noguer at El Nacional.

Laporta wants Gravenberch at Barca next season to play alongside Dutch teammate Frenkie de Jong and Pedri at the Camp Nou. Youngsters Gavi and Nico Gonzalez are also expected to play a bigger role in 2022-23.

The report adds that Laporta talks regularly to Mino Raiola, Gravenberch’s agent, and the president is also a fan of the midfielder’s coach at Ajax, Erik ten Hag. Indeed Ten Hag is viewed as a potential replacement for Ronald Koeman should the 58-year-old leave his role as coach.

Gravenberch’s current contract at Ajax expires in 2023 which means the Eredivisie side could be tempted to sell next summer if he does not renew his contract to avoid the possibility of losing him for free.

Noguer reports that Ajax are likely to be willing to accept an offer in the region of 40 million ($47m) which is considered a great price given the teenager’s huge potential.

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Praise For Gravenberch

Gravenberch is yet another talented teenager to make a name for himself at Ajax and has already attracted plenty of plaudits. Former Netherlands international Wim Kieft told De Telegraaf in November 2020 he thinks he’s one of his country’s biggest talents, as reported by Football Oranje.

“He is the greatest talent in the Netherlands. Only 18-years-old, but the prototype of a complete player. You see him grow every week,” he said. “If someone like this makes his debut at the highest level, the big question is whether he can keep up with the faster pace. Gravenberch picks up on that very quickly. Also in the Champions League. When you see how, despite his height and physically, he easily turns away in the crowds and accelerates, you don’t see that much.”

The midfielder is the youngest player ever to debut for Ajax in the Eredivise and his accomplished performances mean he’s already a full international national with the Netherlands.

Gravenerch was named the Eredivisie talent of the season for 2020-2021 and followed that up by scoring his first ever international goal in a friendly against Georgia in June 2021 to reach another landmark.

There seems no doubt that Gravenberch is one of Europe’s most exciting teenagers currently, and he surely won’t lack for admirers if he does decide to look for a new challenge next summer.

Barcelona Set To Spend In 2022?

Meanwhile, Barcelona’s financial problems have been well documented and meant the club spent the last summer trying to offload players to reduce the wage bill and raise some much-needed funds.

The Catalans did bring in players but did not spend big. Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia, and Sergio Aguero all joined on free transfers, while Emerson Royal returned from a loan spell at Real Betis and was promptly sold to Tottenham Hotspur.

Next year could see Barca dip into the transfer market again with rumors already surfacing about potential targets. Ferran Martinez at Mundo Deportivo has reported that Barca want to bring RB Leipzig forward Dani Olmo back to the Camp Nou.

Manchester City attacker Raheem Sterling also appears to be on Barca’s radar. According to Sergi Cadevila at Diario Sport, the Catalans wanted Sterling in the summer and will try again to sign him in the January transfer window.

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