Barcelona’s shortlist to replace Sergio Busquets continues to look shorter, as another of their options moves further from Camp Nou. According to Fabrizio Romano in his daily Substack, Ngolo Kante is determined to stay at Chelsea.
It is now well-documented that manager Xavi Hernandez’s preferred option is Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi, but his €60m release clause makes any deal almost impossible.
In the boardroom, Barcelona’s favoured choice would be Wolves’ Ruben Neves, who has the added advantage that his agent is Jorge Mendes. The Blaugrana have a close relationship with Mendes and often discuss potential moves with him, but Xavi is not convinced that Neves would work in Busquets’ position, as per Sport.
Meanwhile, Director of Football Mateu Alemany was most keen on Chelsea midfielder Ngolo Kante. The 31-year-old French World Cup winner is free to negotiate in two days’ time, and would be by far the most cost-effective solution.
However Romano told Caught Offside that Kante is keen on remaining at Chelsea.
“[The] Chelsea board and Graham Potter are discussing internally about Ngolo Kante. The player really wants to stay at Chelsea, he loves the club and the city; a few weeks ago negotiations were really difficult, but now Kanté seems open to discuss different kind of terms and Chelsea are in talks with his representative. Nothing is decided yet, we will see soon.”
The latest is that Xavi is attempting to persuade Busquets to extend his contract for another season, with gradual signs of success. Given the paucity of options, Xavi’s mindset is more understandable.