After terrible performances and a series of losses, Ronald Koeman was sacked. Xavi’s return was desired by the fans and members of the club. His role will be essential for the club to progress in many areas. Many reports have suggested that Barca has already replaced many members of the medical team by immediate effect. Due to misdiagnosis, poor recoveries and relapses, the players are unable to perform at their highest level or are prone to a major injury.
As any newly appointed manager, Xavi will be keen to sign new players in this winter transfer window or the summer of 2022. According to various reports, Xavi has shortlisted the type of players he wants to include in this current Barca side. Xavi’s top priority is a natural striker, who can score tons of goals for the club. The second player will be an attacking midfielder, who could break the lines and take on defenders with ease just like Andres Iniesta. The third and fourth players will be full-backs, one of them should be a versatile player and the other one should be offensively better. The last player will be a natural winger, Xavi wants a winger who could attack the wide areas and with recurring injuries to Fati and Dembele, signing a winger will become a necessity.
Here is the list of players that Xavi will try to sign:
5) Jules Kounde
The Barcelona backline looks lost while defending nowadays and has been at the receiving end of major humiliation a couple of times in the past few years. Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba are already past their primes, Lenglet and Eric Garcia have been clumsy while defending and made errors leading to a goal. Ronald Araujo and Samuel Umtiti have been injury-prone in the past
Xavi will look to reinforce his defence as soon as possible to avoid any kind of poor defending considering how critical the condition is at Barca. Xavi wants someone with the personality of Javier Mascherano, who played in different positions under Pep Guardiola. Jules Kounde will be a good fit in Xavi’s system considering his technical abilities and versatility to play in various positions. The French International was a key part of Sevilla’s Europa League triumph in 2020 and was selected in France’s squad for Euro 2020. His rock-solid defending along with the ability to bring the ball forward with ease makes him an ideal player for Xavi.
4) Paul Pogba
Barcelona signed Phillippe Coutinho to replace Andres Iniesta but that hasn’t worked for the Catalans. Iniesta’s magic will always be irreplaceable but somebody needs to fill his shoes. Last year, Barcelona signed Pedri who became an integral part of Spain and Barca at the age of 18. However, after playing 70 games in a season, the youngster has started picking up injuries and the fatigue is taking a toll on him. Pedri’s game has shown glimpses of Andres Iniesta but at his age, it feels wrong to put such responsibility on him.
Paul Pogba had a phenomenal Euro campaign with France and started the Premier League season in great form. Mino Raiola’s huge wage demands could be negotiable as Laporta has a good connection with him. Pogba’s experience and technical ability will be a huge boost in the midfield.
Paul Pogba’s contract with Manchester United ends in the summer of 2022 but according to reports, the contract extension seems off the table as no agreement has been reached between the club and the player. Barcelona could go for France International for yet another free transfer from the city of Manchester.
3) Dani Olmo
Paul Pogba is not the only attacking midfielder that Barcelona has shortlisted. Dani Olmo’s arrival looks imminent after Xavi’s return. Olmo is versatile and can play in different positions in attack and midfield. He spent seven years at La Masia from 2007-2014 and will fancy his return if Barcelona manages to negotiate the transfer in January.
Leipzig’s Dani Olmo will be a good competition for that attacking midfielder spot and will ease the pressure on Pedri. The 23-year-old will fit in perfectly as he knows the core principles and philosophy of Barca. Barcelona tried to sign him in the summer but failed to do so. According to reports, they will try again in January.
2) Raheem Sterling
Xavi wants a natural winger who can play in wide areas and Raheem Sterling looks likely to be the man for Xavi. The Englishman is no longer a regular in the Man City line-up under Pep Guardiola. Tactical change in City’s game plan could be a reason behind Raheem Sterling’s falling out of favour under Pep Guardiola. Sterling’s pace and ability to get behind opposing defences is a key part of his game but Jack Grealish’s arrival and Phil Foden, all playing on the same wing has decreased his game time.
According to reports, Sterling is open to joining the LaLiga giants when the transfer window opens in January. Barcelona could offer a player in exchange to save for other signings. Raheem Sterling has hinted a move outside of England and a loan or swap deal could be ideal for Barca considering their critical financial situation.
1) Erling Haaland
Xavi is a big fan of Erling Haaland and he remains a top priority for Barcelona. Barcelona will join the race to bring in Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland at Camp Nou in the summer of 2022. The 21-year-old has become a sensation in Germany and has already scored 21 Champions League goals in just 18 games. Xavi wants Haaland to be Barca’s next number nine, having scored 70 goals in 69 appearances for Dortmund.
Haaland’s release clause of €75m will be activated at the end of the season and many big clubs like Man City, PSG, Real Madrid will cash in for his signature. Whether Barcelona will be able to have the financial power to spend that much money on him, though remains to be seen.