Barcelona are unbeaten since the January transfer window. Xavi has stamped his authority on the team, showing a versatility tactically and in his approach to signings, and it is already bearing fruit.
It is no secret that the Catalan giants are facing major financial woes. But this hasn’t put a halt to any of their transfer activity and their new concise, shrewd approach to signings has improved their team markedly.
Barca signed Ferran Torres from Manchester City, Arsenal’s wantaway striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and winger Adama Traore – veteran defender Dani Alves also returned to the Camp Nou. The La Liga outfit had to be very careful with where they were spending their budget, but all of the aforementioned stars have settled well into Xavi’s system.
The running theme through those transfers is that they are shrewd moves. Torres was struggling to break into the City team after an injury, Aubameyang was in Mikel Arteta’s ‘bad books’ after a disciplinary breach and Traore was running down his contract.
JUST IN: Man Utd could abandon interviews to ‘speed up’ as Erik ten Hag plan…
Recently, the club have been linked with a plethora of other players who also toe that line. Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland has been linked with a move to Barca, as well as Paul Pogba and Robert Lewandowski, who are both out of contract at the end of the season. Leeds’ Raphinha has also been tipped to make the move to Barca, with his £25million price tag looking value for money for the Brazilian.
Of course, the wages for any of those four would be significant, but they may be able to acquire them on a lower rate if they are keen to move to the club. Their honesty financially with players is being used as a bartering tool, as sporting director Jordi Cruyff told The Guardian: “Knowing the economic situation, FFP limits, players have to want to come.
Arnold ready to bin off second Glazer policy at Man Utd
Kylian Mbappe could give Tottenham glorious transfer chance
Barcelona star De Jong ends Klopp transfer message
“They know they could earn more elsewhere and all four signings made an effort so we can make the numbers work, which we should recognise. Barcelona is still special, a club players are prepared to lose money to work at.”
If Xavi does manage to sign even three of the aforementioned stars then he could have a team capable of competing for the Champions League, with Haaland looking the least likely given that he has been tipped to move to Manchester City.
German shot-stopper Marc-Andre ter Stegen is a shoe in for the goalkeeper spot, whilst Ronald Araujo, Gerard Pique, Eric Garcia and Jodi Alba provide a solid back four for the creative stars to build off of. Pogba, Pedri and Sergio Busquets – with Frenkie de Jong and Gavi suitable cover – could be the ideal trio in the centre of the park for Xavi to provide a balance.
A frontline of Aubameyang, Lewandowski and Torres would cause any team in Europe plenty of issues, with the deadly pace of Traore and Raphinha available as substitutes.
If Xavi can continue to successfully attract top talent to Barca with their limited financial capabilities then the only way is up for the Spanish side. Their 4-0 victory over Real Madrid last weekend laid down a marker that Xavi’s side have quickly closed the gulf in class between the two sides.
Potential Barcelona XI: Ter Stegen, Araujo, Pique, Garcia, Alba; Pogba, Pedri, Busquets; Aubameyang, Lewandowski, Torres.