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Barcelona eyeing 18-year-old Belgian starlet as possible Busquets replacement

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Photo by TOM GOYVAERTS/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images

Just a while ago, Gerard Romero reported that Barcelona are considering as many as six candidates as possible targets to replace exit-bound club captain Sergio Busquets.

The 34-year-old defensive midfielder will be leaving as a free agent this summer leaving a massive void in Xavi’s midfield unit. As such, the Catalan heavyweights are already lining up possible options to take over from him.

It is well-known at this point that Martin Zubimendi continues to be Barcelona’s priority despite the fact that he will cost €60 million in the summer. Another La Liga midfielder in Guido Rodriguez is also being monitored.

Now, Romero is reporting that Barcelona are also looking at Royal Antwerp youngster Arthur Vermeeren as a potential target to replace Busquets at the club.

Vermeeren, just 18 years of age, is enjoying a solid breakthrough season in Belgium with Royal Antwerp. The holding midfielder has featured 32 times across all competitions for the first team, even chipping in with a goal and an assist.

He also made his debut for the Belgian Under-19 national team in March earlier this year.

The 18-year-old is known for his intelligence on the ball and good distribution skills and can make line-breaking forward passes with ease. At the same time, his positioning and anticipation make him a reliable operator defensively as well.

While there is plenty of potential in the talented youngster, given his lack of exposure at the highest level, signing him to replace Busquets could be a risky move on Barcelona’s part.

Furthermore, Vermeeren has a contract with Royal Antwerp until the summer of 2026, having penned a renewal in February this year. So, he could also command a significant transfer fee.

As iterated earlier, the teenager is one among six targets, with other players on the club’s radar being Zubimendi, Rodriguez, Ruben Neves, Sofyan Amrabat, and N’Golo Kante. Joshua Kimmich is no longer a top target for Barcelona to replace Busquets.

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