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Barcelona coaching staff identify two issues with Laporta’s preferred midfield target



Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Barcelona are yet to make their intentions clear when it comes to the future of club captain Sergio Busquets.

The 34-year-old has less than six months left on his contract and while Xavi wants to keep him at Camp Nou for another year, the club is yet to make an approach over a new deal.

With Busquets’ future shrouded in uncertainty, Barça have been linked with numerous possible replacements for the former Spanish international.

One such name that has been doing the rounds quite regularly is that of Ruben Neves. The Wolves and Portugal midfielder will be entering the final year of his contract in the summer and is understood to be keen on a move to Barcelona.

The 25-year-old’s signing is being endorsed by club president Joan Laporta and the administration as they believe he can be acquired for an affordable price, thanks to his agent Jorge Mendes.

However, Xavi and his coaching staff are not convinced by Neves. In fact, Javi Miguel is indicating that the club’s technical staff have negative reports on the Portuguese international, with two particular issues standing out.

The role that Busquets essays in the Barcelona midfield requires a particular skillset, which the technical secretariat at the club do not believe Neves possesses.

As per the report from the journalist, the Barcelona staff believe that Neves is weak when it comes to defending while they have major doubts about his positional play as well, which makes him a poor fit to take over from Busquets in the pivot role in midfield.

Due to these reasons, Xavi and his staff do not wish to sign Neves as a replacement for the 34-year-old even though Laporta continues to push for the Portuguese international’s arrival.

Instead, the Barcelona manager has handpicked Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi as the ideal option to replace Busquets. However, his €60 million release clause is seen as a mountain too steep for the club to climb in the summer.

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