Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez has opened up on his transfer plans ahead of the opening of the summer window next month. The Catalans are expected to strengthen their squad and the manager knows his top priority already.
Xavi told a pre-match press conference on Monday, May 22 that Barcelona’s top challenge is to bring in a replacement for captain Sergio Busquets. The midfielder has announced he will leave when his contract expires at the end of the season.
“Priority number one is the Busi spot, it’s logical,” he told reporters. “We need a very high-level defensive midfielder. That’s the reality. An important player is leaving, he’s the captain, he can make a lot of difference. So we need to find a replacement, the best possible. And then there will be other priorities.”
Replacing Busquets will be a tall order for Barcelona. The midfielder has spent 18 seasons at the club and won over 30 titles. He leaves after winning La Liga and the Spanish Super Cup in his final season at the Camp Nou.
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Could Frenkie de Jong Replace Sergio Busquets?
Barcelona seem to have a ready-made replacement in Busquets already. Frenkie de Jong is one player who can play in the Busquets role, although the Dutchman believes it is not the right position for him.
“I hear it ofte [that he could replace Busquets] but I think we are different players. He is a real solid ‘6’ according to the Barcelona profile. I need freedom of movement,” he told NOS.
Barcelona have been linked with several players already, including Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Zubimendi. Xavi has talked up the midfielder by revealing he thinks he’s an “extraordinary” footballer.
Yet Zubimendi has a release clause set at 60 million euros which is likely to be out of Barca’s reach. The midfielder also signed a new contract at the club in 2022, suggesting he’s not interested in moving right now.
What About Nico Gonzalez?
Another potential replacement for Busquets is Nico Gonzalez. Xavi has been told he’s the “perfect player” to replace the captain by former B team coach Francisco Javier García Pimienta, as reported by Mundo Deportivo.
Nico has spent the current season on loan at Valencia but is due back at the end of the season, and Xavi told his press conference the club will make a decision on his future at that point.
“I think he’s playing at a really good level, he played a good match yesterday. He’s growing. It’s a shame he was injured, out for three months, but we’ll evaluate it,” he explained. “Everything you are asking is going into this planning we are going through. He’s out on loan so he will come back and then we’ll see what we can do.”
Wolves midfielder is another option for Barcelona, according to ESPN. The club are pressing ahead with talks for the Portugal international even though Xavi prefers other targets.
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