Barcelona’s hunt for a new defensive midfielder has taken them across Europe. The Blaugrana are yet to strike gold in their search hidden their financial limitations, but it appears clear that there will be a signing in the coming month.
One of the options Xavi Hernandez was presented with that would avoid the hassles of FFP and registrations was the return of Nico Gonzalez. The La Masia graduate is no stranger to playing for the Blaugrana first team and is capable of operating in the pivot position.
In fact, the 21-year-old has spent most of his loan stint at Valencia playing in the team’s double pivot, just in front of the centre-backs. His La Masia roots and strong positional understanding were seen as facets that could only help his incorporation as Sergio Busquets’ replacement.
According to reports from ESPN, that plan is no longer on the table. Though Barcelona directors Deco and Mateu Alemany really like Nico for the role, manager Xavi Hernandez prefers to have someone with more experience take over the reins.
As it stands, Oriol Romeu appears to be the Catalans’ best bet to arrive as a new pivot. Girona demand €8 million for their star player, and it is safe to say that the fee is a bargain for a player of his quality.
Barcelona have agreed on a two-year contract with Romeu, and only an agreement with Girona remains to be struck. However, it remains unclear if the club have the leverage to finance his arrival.
As for Nico, the 21-year-old will return for pre-season next week following which a decision on his future will be made. Another loan exit appears to be on the cards for the midfielder.