New Barcelona coach Xavi does not want to sign a midfielder currently despite former boss Ronald Koeman having told the club he wanted a reinforcement and was keen on Sevilla’s Fernando.
Fernando is out of contract in 2022 but Xavi has dismissed the notion that Barca are lacking a “physical midfielder” and is happy with his options, as reported by Mundo Deportivo‘s Gabriel Sans.
Koeman was keen on Fernando because he considers him “tactically disciplined, aggressive, intelligent and with good ball control.” The midfielder also has bags of experience after spells with Porto, Manchester City, Galatasaray and Sevilla.
The Dutchman coach felt he needed a more physical presence in midfield because 33-year-old Sergio Busquets needs rest, while he did not think Frenkie de Jong was up to the job and saw Nico Gonzalez, Pedri and Gavi as interiors.
Koeman tried to sign a more physical midfielder during his time at the Camp Nou and originally targeted Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum. Yet Barca missed out on Wijnaldum as he joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer from Liverpool in summer 2021.
Wijnaldum subsequently admitted there had been interest from Barca but he had opted for PSG because “they did everything, absolutely everything, to get me to sign,” as reported by Get French Football News.
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Xavi talks Barcelona Midfielders
Xavi has already made it clear he’s happy with his midfield options since replacing Koeman as first-team coach.
The 41-year-old dismissed claims he needs a physical midfielder at a pre-match press conference before Barca’s clash with Benfica in the Champions League.
“We already have physical midfielders, we already have them. De Jong or Nico, or Busi himself, without being very strong, he is one of the midfielders who recovers the most balls in the world,” he said. “To play like we do, you don’t have to be two meters tall and weigh 85 kilos … Look at how many balls Pedri recovers, like Iniesta did. But we have that profile you ask for, Nico or De Jong.
The emergence of teenagers Pedri, Gavi and Nico Gonzalez gives Xavi plenty of exciting options alongside more established stars such as Sergio Busquets and Frenkie de Jong.
Barca’s Transfer Priority on Attack
Indeed any incoming transfer activity at Barca is likely to focus on strengthening the club’s attack. The Catalans continue to be linked with a host of forwards including Ferran Torres, Dani Olmo, Rachel Sterling, Karim Adeyemi and Arthur Cabral.
Yet Barca will have to sell first because they can register any new players. According to Diario Sport, selling Philippe Coutinho could be the key to any January transfers at the Camp Nou.
Xavi has talked up Coutinho and said he “can be important” for the team despite having struggled to make much of an impact at the Camp Nou so far in his career. However, Coutinho has yet to start under the new boss and has only managed 30 minutes of first-team action under Xavi.