Barcelona coach Xavi is working hard on his plans for next season and already has a “dream” starting XI in mind for the 2022-23 campaign.
The boss is “very clear” about the 11 players who he wants to make up his preferred team, according to Javi Miguel at Diario AS. Xavi’s team includes six players who will need to be brought in to satisfy the coach’s demands.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen will continue in goal behind a new-look backline of Cesar Azpilicueta, Ronald Araujo, Jules Kounde, and Marcos Alonso. Xavi then wants a midfield three of Sergio Busquets, Pedri, and Bernardo Silva.
Robert Lewandowski will be Xavi’s main striker, if he can seal a move from Bayern Munich, alongside Leeds United winger Raphinha. Barcelona’s teenage star Ansu Fati completes the line-up.
Xavi will then look to a host of players including Gavi, Nico Gonzalez, Gerard Pique, Eric Garcia, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Sergi Roberto to use as back-ups to his first XI for next season.
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Surprises in Xavi’s XI?
Interestingly, Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie, who are both expected to arrive at Barcelona on free transfers in the summer, are not included in Xavi’s dream XI. Ferran Torres, who signed in January for €55 million, may also have to settle for a place on the bench.
Ferran has divided opinion among supporters since arriving from Manchester City. The forward has been a virtual ever-present under Xavi and did end the season with seven goals and six assists. However, the Spain international was also guilty of some profligate finishing.
There is also no mention of Frenkie de Jong who has been linked with a Barca exit despite repeatedly insisting he wants to stay at the Camp Nou. Xavi could bring in Bernardo Silva if De Jong is sold and even thinks the Portugal international’s style is more suited to Barca than the Dutchman’s, according to Mundo Deportivo.
Clement Lenglet, Samuel Umtiti, Oscar Mingueza, and Riqui Puig, who have already been told by Xavi they are surplus to requirements and can leave are also omitted, as is Memphis Depay.
The Dutchman finished last season as the team’s joint top scorer with Aubameyang but is “on the market and could leave if a big offer arrives,” according to Diario Sport.
Can Barca Make Signings?
Barcelona will need to get busy in the transfer market if Xavi is to have the team he desires but have been boosted by members voting to authorize the sale of future merchandizing and television rights which could bring in around €600 million.
Barcelona’s vice-president for finance Eduard Romeu spoke to Onze ahead of the vote and said it will be business as normal for the Catalan giants in the transfer market if they can sell the two assets, as reported by SportsFinding.
He explained, “If the [financial] levers are approved, with more than €500 million, and we are able to carry out what we have planned, we will be able to sign normally.”
Barcelona are also “working on the departures of more than 10 players who don’t feature in coach Xavi Hernandez’s plans” as well as “negotiating further pay cuts,” according to ESPN.
Xavi has already made some big decisions since the end of last season. Pique has already been told he will not be a regular starter in 2022-23, while Dani Alves has confirmed he is leaving after the club opted not to offer the 39-year-old a new contract.