FC Barcelona top 5 most expensive signings
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Xavi won the La Liga eight times, the Champions League four times and the Copa del Rey three times during his 17-year spell at Barcelona. Now manager of Qatari club Al Sadd, the Spaniard is being linked with a return to the Camp Nou, and he is sure to attract top talent to the club.
Ronald Koeman was sacked as Barca manager on Wednesday after his side crumbled to a 1-0 defeat against Rayo Vallecano.
The loss was the Catalan club’s third of the season as they sit in ninth place in the league despite having a squad packed full of talent.
The former Southampton boss had the likes of Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay, Philippe Coutinho and Gerard Pique at his disposal, as well as numerous other top-quality individuals.
But Barcelona’s squad depth could improve further if they secure the signatures of three of their targets if Xavi is appointed.
The 41-year-old is reportedly interested in securing the signature of Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling and Sevilla defender Jules Kounde if he becomes Barcelona manager, according to The Sun.
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The pair have been heavily linked away from their respective clubs over the past few months, with Kounde having talks with Chelsea over the summer but the London club could not meet his price tag.
Sterling has also been linked with a move, but out of the Premier League.
The England international is thought to be unhappy with his lack of game time under Pep Guardiola and wants to be playing more regular football, with his role in England’s Euro 2020 campaign giving him a taste of what it is like to be a central figure in a squad.
The former Liverpool winger has admitted previously that he would enjoy playing abroad if an opportunity arose, so the chance to reunite with former City teammate Aguero in sunny Spain could prove very appealing.
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But Sterling is not the only winger that Xavi is interested in signing, the 2010 World Cup winner is also interested in signing Bayern Munich’s Kingsley Coman according to Spain news outlet Sport.
Xavi could have a front line of Coman, Sterling and Aguero, with former Manchester United forward Depay playing as a no.10 in behind and exciting prospect Ansu Fati as another option.
With Pique, Jordi Alba and Sergino Dest already available, Kounde could be the final piece of the defensive jigsaw at Barca, with former City defender Eric Garcia available to provide squad depth.
Germany international Marc-Andre ter Stegen doesn’t look like he needs replacing in goal and a defensive midfield partnership of Pedri and Sergio Busquets could complete the lineup.
However, although the rumoured team looks capable of being competitive in the league and in Europe, there is no guarantee that Xavi will make the switch from Qatar to Spain.
Current employers Al Sadd released a short statement on Twitter to attempt to put an end to the rumours linking their manager with a move to Barca.
They said: “In response to what’s circulating recently, the #AlSadd management reaffirms that Xavi has a two-year contract with the club and is fully focused on the team’s upcoming matches, to maintain our lead at the top of the league and to defend the title.”
But Barcelona president Joan Laporta has added fuel to the fire by admitting talks are ongoing, he revealed: “I have always said one day [Xavi] will be Barca’s head coach but I don’t know when.
“We have great references about Xavi at Al Sadd. All our reports about Xavi are positive. We can talk a lot about Xavi, but I cannot give you more details. He is in all the papers, but we also have other options.”
It remains to be seen whether Xavi does become Barcelona manager, and if so, whether the club has the financial capabilities to give him the backing that he reportedly needs.
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