Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez is already working hard on his transfer plans for next season as he bids to strengthen his squad and challenge for trophies at home and abroad.
The coach has “spoken personally” to Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan about joining the club on a free transfer, as reported by Diario AS. Gundogan is out of contract at the end of the season and yet to agree a new deal.
Xavi has told the Germany international that the club is doing “everything possible” to solve their current financial fair play problems and find a space in the squad and on the wage bill for the 32-year-old.
Gundogan was Pep Guardiola’s first signing for Manchester City when he joined from Borussia Dortmund in 2016. The midfielder has gone on to win four Premier League titles, the FA Cup and four League Cups during his time with the Sky Blues.
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Guardiola’s Praise For Gundogan
Former Barcelona boss Guardiola has regularly made it clear just how important Gundogan is to his side. The Manchester City boss lauded Gundogan back in 2021 and described him as a one of a kind, as reported by Goal.
“He’s an incredibly nice guy. He’s one of the… I will never forget the time we spent together,” he said. “As a player he is one of the most intelligent, wisest players I have ever trained, I have ever seen.”
There have been more plaudits this season. Gundogan, who has been elected as the team’s captain, has been described as the team’s most important midfielder by his manager, as reported by the Manchester Evening News.
“[Does] Bernardo deserve to play? Gundogan, he’s the best midfielder we have this season,” he said. “They have to compete with each other and reach the highest level possible. Otherwise another player is going to play.”
It’s high praise indeed given the resources at City’s disposal. Guardiola also has midfielders such as Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Rodri, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish in his squad at the Etihad Stadium.
Barcelona Meet With Gundogan
Barcelona sporting director Mateu Alemany has confirmed he has met with Gundogan’s agent recently to discuss the midfielder’s future, as reported by Sport. “My obligation is to know that Gundogan is free, and we have met with his uncle, who is also Christensen’s agent,” said Alemany.
Gundogan is yet to confirm his intentions past the end of the season, but Guardiola has confirmed that he will not stand in his way if he does decide to call time on his Manchester City career, as reported by 90min.
“He can do whatever he wants. He has the paradise already. So he knows exactly my opinion about him,” he said. “The club knows it and it is a question for him and his agent. What is going to happen I’m pretty sure is going to be good for him.”
Barcelona hardly lack for midfield options but do have question marks over Sergio Busquets’s future. The captain is out of contract and yet to extend, meaning signing Gundogan on a free to replace the veteran is a serious option for the Catalans.
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