Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez still harbours hopes of convincing Sergio Busquets to remain at the club beyond the current season. However, the midfielder has seemingly decided to leave when his contract expires and sign for MLS outfit Inter Miami.
Should that happen, the Blaugrana will need to sign a new midfielder to take over from their club captain starting next season.
Several players have been linked with a move to Spotify Camp Nou as potential heirs to Busquets. But the one target gaining the most weight is Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Zubimendi.
The 23-year-old is seen as the ideal profile to fill the void that would be left by Busquets’ departure. Manager Xavi Hernandez sees him as his preferred choice ahead of other possible options like Wolves’ Ruben Neves.
And, according to AS, Barcelona could end up splashing the €60 million required to sign Zubimendi from La Real in the summer of 2023.
The 23-year-old has become one of the most reliable defensive midfielders in La Liga over the past eighteen months or so and has established himself as a crucial part of the plans in Imanol Alguacil’s side.
Zubimendi even signed a new contract with Real Sociedad not so long ago, committing his future to the club until 2027. However, the midfielder did so only on the condition that the Basque outfit would not raise his release clause amount which stood at €60 million.
La Real are unlikely to give any discounts when it comes to their top midfielder. So, Barcelona would have to shell out the entire release clause sum to sign Xavi’s preferred target and according to the report, they could end up doing so.
While Frenkie de Jong has excelled in the pivot role on occasions this season, Xavi continues to see him as more of an interior midfielder.
Meanwhile, the Barça head coach is not convinced by Neves either, with the Portuguese international’s name now reportedly no longer under serious consideration.
It leaves Zubimendi as the main target for the Catalans, although they are also looking at free transfer opportunities such as N’Golo Kante.
However, with Xavi pushing for the Real Sociedad star’s signing, Barcelona may end up paying his release clause value, although some major rejigging might be needed to free up finances for the move.