Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez only has three players in his current first-team squad at the Camp Nou that he considers to be “untouchable” and not for sale under any circumstances.
Teenage midfielders Gavi and Nico Gonzalez are on the list along with 19-year-old striker Ansu Fati, according to journalist Jordi Grau for Onze TV. The rest of the squad “will have to earn their place” between now and the end of the season.
Grau also adds that Barcelona are willing to “terminate contacts” and “listen to offers for important players” in a bid to trim the squad which would allow the club to raise much-needed funds and free up space on the wage bill for new signings.
Barcelona’s faith in Fati has already been demonstrated by the club’s decision to hand the teenager a new contract in October 2021 that runs until 2027 and contains a release clause set at an eye-watering €1 billion.
Gavi is also in line for a contract extension after breaking into the first team for club and country and becoming a regular in the 2021-22 season. The Catalans plan to extend the 17-year-old’s current deal until 2026 and will raise his release clause from €50 million to €500m ($560m).
Meanwhile, key players such as goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and midfielder Frenkie de Jong are not currently considered “untouchable” after failing to step up and assume leadership roles, according to Juan Jimenez at Diario AS.
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Xavi Talks Untouchables
Xavi has been asked if any of his players are “non-transferable” ahead of Barcelona’s next game against Osasuna in La Liga on Sunday, December 12. The Catalans head into the match after consecutive defeats to Real Betis and Bayern Munich.
The Barcelona boss was giving little away about which players he would be unwilling to let go and insisted at the moment he needs all the players he has, as reported by Diario AS.
“For tomorrow, everyone,” he said. “We can’t give anything away. We have to end the year well and then the market opens. Now I need everyone. We’ll talk later.”
Injuries mean Xavi is very short of options for Sunday’s match. Jordi Alba and Memphis Depay have joined a growing injury list that includes Pedri, Sergi Roberto, Sergio Aguero, Ansu Fati, and Martin Braithwaite.
The lack of attackers means that 22-year-old Barca B forward Ferran Jutgla has been called into the first-team squad for the first time for the trip to Osasuna and could even get minutes.
Last Chance For Luuk de Jong?
One player who is widely expected to depart in January is on-loan striker Luuk de Jong, but the Dutchman may get a rare chance to impress against Osasuna with Xavi without so many of his attacking options.
De Jong has only seen eight minutes of first-team action since Xavi took over, but the Barcelona coach admitted he may be needed and has looked good in training ahead of the match.
“He is an exemplary professional. He is training very well, he is different from Memphis and the others, but he can give us different solutions,” he said. “We have to adapt to injuries and he is one of the solutions we have in attack. We have to take advantage of him.”
De Jong was brought to Barcelona in the summer by former coach Ronald Koeman and has scored just one goal in 10 appearances so far for the Catalan giants in all competitions.