Barça's plan to replace Busquets: two signings to compete as starters

Barça's plan to replace Busquets: two signings to compete as starters

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The Catalan club want to add a couple of midfielders to the squad this summer

Barcelona's clear priority in the summer transfer market is to rebuild their midfield. The sports department has been working for some time with the hypothesis of Sergio Busquets leaving at the end of the season and the idea is to sign two players: one at zero cost and the other via a transfer who can play both as a pivot and as a midfielder, as Franck Kessié will also be leaving. There are priorities and divergences with the names but little by little the panorama is becoming clearer.

Xavi Hernandez's idea was to go for Martin Zubimendi and Ilkay Gundogan. The former has been practically ruled out, though, due to price and because the player would prioritise staying at Real Sociedad if they finally qualify for the Champions League. With Gundogan, there are still differences to resolve due to the salary he is asking for. Nothing has yet been signed, although Barça believe that everything will be resolved favourably in the next few weeks.

The big doubt is in the pivot position in front of the defence. Xavi believes that both Frenkie de Jong and Gundogan could play in that position in certain games, but he believes it would be good to sign a specialist. Without Zubimendi, Sofyan Amrabat (Fiorentina) is the player who fits best. Barça have already sounded out his incorporation but do not want to pay more than €30 million. Guido Rodriguez, from Betis, is another option. That is the idea of the coaches but another thing is what the club can do.

Because from the board there are doubts about the age of Gundogan, although they will sign him if the salary is reasonable. If not, the bet would be Rúben Neves, in a profitable operation with Ansu Fati in the middle. The club understands that this is the most beneficial route but they are working on it even if the player does not convince Xavi. The operation is advanced while waiting for Ansu to give his OK, something that has not yet happened.

Barça will certainly invest in the midfield position as the departure of Busquets must be covered by a player who will come in to compete for a starting position. What they are very clear on is that with the exit of Busquets and probably Kessié, the other players are untouchable. Frenkie de Jong, Pedri and Gavi are absolutely untransferable and Pablo Torre will have to go out on loan if the two desired signings arrive.

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