The six candidates Barcelona have shortlisted for the pivot position being vacated by Sergio Busquets

Barcelona have a tough task on their hands to work out who should occupy the role of Sergio Busquets next season. While no one player will be able to provide exactly what Busquets does to the Blaugrana, Xavi Hernandez and Mateu Alemany must assess who can share the duties well with the likes of Frenkie de Jong. Xavi has declared it their number one priority in the market.

Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi has long-since been mentioned as a top target for Barcelona, and Gerard Romero has confirmed on Jijantes FC that he remains a possibility. He claims Barcelona can meet his €60m release clause, but perhaps the trickier part is that Zubimendi has made it clear he wants to remain in Donostia-San Sebastian next season.

Argentine midfielder Guido Rodriguez is another name that Romero says is amongst Barcelona’s interests. He has just a year left on his deal, and Xavi is reportedly a fan of his, although the board is less keen.

An alternate and unexpected option is that of Arthur Vermeeren of Royal Antwerp, who Romero says has been highlighted by the analytics department at Barcelona. At just 18, the Belgian midfielder has played over 3,000 minutes this season for Antwerp, already standing out as a starter. Barcelona have also seen him in person, sending their scouts to watch him.

Barcelona’s close links with Portuguese agent Jorge Mendes means that Ruben Neves remains an option for the position, although Xavi has made it clear that he does not see him in a deeper role similar to that of Sergio Busquets.

Fiorentina midfielder Sofyan Amrabat has been linked extensively with the Blaugrana, reportedly telling the Viola that he wanted to join Barcelona on loan in January. The Moroccan is not a priority for Xavi and company though, but should they be unable to obtain their other options, could come into the frame.

The final option mentioned by Romero is Oriol Romeu. Coming through the academy at La Masia before leaving for Chelsea, Romeu has been enjoying an outstanding season at Girona. He would likely be a lower cost option for the Blaugrana, but would fit in well, being aware of the culture and the style of play. He would likely be an alternative, rather than a first choice.

Romero also claims that Chelsea midfielder Ngolo Kante’s camp have been in contact with Barcelona to offer him to the club. He has not been profiled as an option by the club, and has actively stated his desire to remain in London, but is yet to reach a new deal with Chelsea.

How this plays out will no doubt depend significantly on the finances available to the Blaugrana, and thus the sales they can make. Replacing Busquets is an impossible task at the best of times, but doing so on a budget is far from ideal. Whoever does arrive at the the club will no doubt require an alterating of the structure of the team. For the first time since March of 2022, it looked as if Xavi had hit on a functioning system in January with a midfield four of Busquets, Frenkie de Jong, Gavi and Pedri, but now must reorganise once more.

Tags Arthur Vermeeren Barcelona Fiorentina Guido Rodriguez Martin Zubimendi Real Betis Real Sociedad Royal Antwerp Ruben Neves Sofyan Amrabat Wolves
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