Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez has confirmed he has spoken to four of his players already about next season and made it clear they are not in his plans for the 2022-23 campaign.
Xavi was asked at a pre-match press conference about speculation he has told Riqui Puig, Samuel Umtiti, Martin Braithwaite, and Oscar Mingueza their time at the club is up and confirmed the players are not in his future plans.
“Yes and some others as well. I’ve also talked to some other players. But I’m not going to say publicly. It’s down to every player if they want to announce it or not but I’ve already talked to them yes,” he said. “I think it’s important for the players who aren’t staying to have options, to have time to think about their future. And obviously the players we want to continue. We do need to transmit to the players the intentions we have at the club.”
All four players have struggled for game time this season under Xavi and have spent most of the campaign on the bench. Barca’s last match of the season against Villarreal on Sunday, May 22 offers the players a chance to feature for the club for a final time.
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Barcelona Players Respond To Xavi Chat
The Barcelona manager was also asked about how the players took the news and admitted it had been difficult but that he wanted to give the quartet plenty of time to find new clubs.
“I think the response has been good. Some have been thankful. In the end I have to make decision. I’m clear, At other clubs they will have more opportunities,” he said. “Here it will be hard for them to have opportunities to play. So they are going to another place where they can feel more important. It’s a tough situation but it’s part of the job, part of my responsibility.”
Barcelona look set for a busy summer transfer window and will now look for new clubs for all four players. The Catalan giants have already sold Philippe Coutinho to Premier League side Aston Villa.
Xavi Talks Ousmane Dembele Update
Ousmane Dembele is another player who could leave the club at the end of the season. The Frenchman is out of contract at the end of June 2022 and yet to agree an extension with Barcelona.
Xavi spoke about Dembele’s future and admitted the match against Villarreal could be the final time the forward pulls on the Barcelona shirt in a competitive match.
“It could be his last game yes or maybe he could extend his contract. Negotiations are ongoing. We will be optimistic. I hope he can stay. He’s helped us a lot during these six months, he’s a decisive player, he’s had lots of assists, he’s been excellent in many games,” he said. “When he hasn’t played we’ve missed him. I like him as a football player. We will have to see, it depends on the negotiations. Yes tomorrow could be the last game for Ousmane and several other players.”
Xavi’s teamsheet for the Villarreal match will make for interesting reading too. Dembele did not feature at all against Getafe last time out in La Liga, and Xavi must decide whether to recall him against Unai Emery’s side.