Barcelona are on the hunt for defensive midfielders right now ahead of the upcoming January transfer window.
The idea is to find a long-term replacement for Sergio Busquets, whose current deal at Camp Nou expires at the end of the season. Barça have already found a few options in the market, including Wolves star Ruben Neves and Martin Zubimendi of Real Sociedad.
However, according to a report from Gerard Romero, not everyone in the Barcelona camp is on board with the idea of signing Neves as a direct replacement for Busquets.
Head coach Xavi Hernandez, for one, does not consider the Portuguese international as a like-for-like replacement for the veteran midfielder. Instead, he sees Neves as someone who can play alongside Busquets in midfield.
This comes as no surprise as the Wolves star has built a reputation in the Premier League more because of his long-range shooting prowess and aggression rather than his technical abilities.
Although Neves is more than capable when it comes to the technical side of the game, he might not offer the same qualities as Busquets.
Xavi, therefore, may try to convince Busquets to extend his contract at Barcelona to at least another year, if Neves does indeed join Camp Nou at the end of the season.
Fortunately for Barça, the former FC Porto starlet is not their only option in the market. The club have been linked with moves for other talented defensive midfielders across Europe, including Real Sociedad starlet Zubimendi.
Romero also indicated that the operation for Neves could cost around €65-70 million, but Wolves would accept payments in installments, meaning Barcelona would have to pay around €25 million only in January and the rest at a later point.
Such a proposition would make him a more viable option for the club, considering that they would have to pay Zubimendi’s entire €60 million clause at once to sign him from Sociedad.
Busquets, meanwhile, is unlikely to continue at Barcelona for much longer and there are whispers that he may move to the United States, in what could turn out to be the final move of his professional career.
All this would only be possible if Barça resolve their Financial Fair Play issues first, for which player exits could become key. An intriguing January window awaits the Catalan giants.