This is coach Xavi Hernandez's method for signing players at Barcelona

This is coach Xavi Hernandez's method for signing players at Barcelona

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The case that has emerged in recent hours about Sergio Busquets' 'veto' on the signing of Arthur Melo and Ousmane Dembléle's veto on the signing of Benajmin Pavard has opened a debate on why Barcelona players can influence decisions made by the technical secretariat.

The reason for this influence is Xavi Hernández's policy on player recruitment. It is not that Dembélé and Busquets vetoed these players, according to information from Catalunya Radio, but that their reports were not positive.

Before deciding whether or not to sign a player, the coach wants to gather as much information as possible on future signings. Xavi wants to know everything about the options, both their behaviour on and off the pitch. It is a complex method and full of steps to certify that the investment is worthwhile. 

Xavi, con su staff


To analyse the suitability of a signing, Xavi subjects the player to a real examination. It is his assistants and Xavi himself who first analyse the technical, physical and tactical abilities, something that can be appreciated by watching videos, live matches with continuous monitoring or data offered by the different platforms that the sports entities have contracted. It is information that is not necessary to talk to anyone, as the eye of the coach or his assistants can be enough for a first screening. 

Second test

If they overcome this test, it is the turn of the technical secretariat to analyse if the signing is possible, if the investment can be made and what salary and offer can be presented to him. Details such as his age, salary and cost are key in this regard. 

At the same time, Xavi and his team are trying to gather as much information as possible about the player, his private life, his attitude to the game, his level of professionalism, his behaviour in the dressing room, how he is when he plays and when he is a reserve, his ability to incorporate new tactical knowledge, his past and his adaptation to different styles of play.... All of this to avoid surprises once any incorporation becomes effective. 

Joao Félix, Cancelo y Ferran, en una imagen de archivo


Third test

The next step, if necessary, is for Xavi himself to talk to the interested party (Pablo Torre acknowledged that the coach called him at the time) either by telephone or in person, as happened, for example, with Erling Haaland on a whirlwind trip made by Xavi and Jordi Cruyff, then technical secretary. 

If, during this whole process, Xavi receives negative input (as may have happened with Arthur and Pavard), the signing is put on the back burner or even discarded altogether in order to look for new options on the market. Because of his many years in the world of football, Xavi has enough contacts to gather as much information as possible from sources who have first-hand knowledge of the player Barcelona is thinking of signing. 

It is a process that is used to working from January until the summer, taking into account the needs of the team. In this sense, Cruyff's maxim is present in the coach's day-to-day work: Decide as soon as possible so that negotiations are easier and cheaper.

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