There are no doubts that Barcelona will enter the market for a new midfielder in the coming summer. If finding a replacement for Sergio Busquets wasn’t already a priority, the club’s midfield unit has been badly exposed in recent games due to the absence of the injured Pedri.
This has accentuated the need for a new midfielder in the coming summer, one who can not only enhance the quality of the current setup but also provide experience and settle in quickly with Xavi’s tactical philosophy.
That is why Barça have been keeping close tabs on Ilkay Gundogan. The Manchester City star is one of the most appealing commodities on the market, as his current contract at the Etihad Stadium expires at the end of the season.
According to Joan Fontes, Barcelona have already kickstarted the process of signing Gundogan on a free transfer in the summer.
Last Wednesday, the club officials including president Joan Laporta met Manchester City sporting director Txiki Begiristain and the club CEO Ferran Soriano to discuss the future of Gundogan.
Barça also have an excellent relationship with Gundogan’s uncle, who acts as an agent for the German international.
It is clear that Barcelona have the opportunity to sign Gundogan on a free transfer at the end of the season. But the club could be bogged down by the player’s salary demands.
Gundogan indeed is holding out for a two-year contract and a salary of €10 million per season, which is quite a fortune for Barcelona, especially under the current economic circumstances.
The Blaugrana, after all, have a monumental task of reducing €200 million from their wage bill in the summer.
The addition of Gundogan with such a high salary, therefore, might not make much economic sense. That means the club may have to do some convincing if they want the player to join the ranks at Barça for a lower salary in the coming season. The role of Xavi could be key.