Xavi has made it clear Barcelona need to sign a replacement for Busquets this summer
Xavi Hernández takes every opportunity he has to emphasise the absolute priorities Barcelona have for the upcoming transfer window.
"We need a replacement for Sergio Busquets, we need another midfielder and maybe another striker. There are a lot of names coming up: Kimmich, Zubimendi, Amrabat... It's normal. [Whover it is] has to be similar to Busi. Winning duels, not losing position, understanding the square. He has to be a very good profile," Xavi told Jijantes.
From this point on, the Barça coach did not hide his predilection for the Real Sociedad pivot Zubimendi.
"The other day you asked Busquets who he thought was more similar to him. You saw the answer," despite 'angering' Real Sociedad with his comments in the past, Xavi was blunt once again.
He is quite clear that Zubimendi is almost a forbidden fruit, though. Because of his high release clause (around €60m) and because it seems that he is committed to playing in the Champions League with La Real next season. We'll see in a year's time how things stand.
Another thing that seems clear is that Rubén Neves is not Xavi's main target. In the equation, he would prefer Sofyan Amrabat, another name that has been mentioned a lot and who is a more physical player -- not forgetting ball circulation, mind.
The youngest of the Amrabat brothers (his brother Nordin played for Malaga and is currently with AEK Athens, with whom he has won the league and cup in Greece) had an excellent World Cup in Qatar. He was the soul of the national team, Morocco, which became the revelation of the tournament.
His priority (as his brother said a few days ago) is Barça. He has the word of the president of Fiorentina that he can leave for a reasonable amount of about €25m.
Sofyan's numbers are good: 92% passing success rate. In areas such as long balls, passes under pressure or recovery after loss, he is better than Busquets, for example.
If Xavi wants to press forward and suffocate the opposition with pressure in some sections, Sofyan is a real 'pitbull'. In addition to being 'crazy' to sign for Barça, he has already spoken with Xavi and also generates consensus with Mateu on the quality-price ratio.
Obviously, Zubimendi has other aspects in his favour. He knows Spanish football. But, as we said, he is a forbidden fruit. Perhaps he will be more of a target next summer.
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