Barcelona’s midfield remains arguably the strongest department in the squad, with talent oozing in the center of the pitch.
However, the ACL injury to Gavi in the recently concluded international break has come across as a major blow, considering his strong start to the season and unique profile.
Now, with the winter transfer window approaching, talk of Barcelona eyeing a replacement and stacking their midfield department is rife.
Xavi has taken a liking to Baena
Indeed, according to Sique Rodriguez on Carrusel, Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez is particularly fond of the Villarreal youngster, Alex Baena.
Furthermore, the fact that the player is a fan of the Azulgrana is seen as an added bonus and an aspect that makes his potential arrival more viable.
However, the report argues that Barça would have to pay between €20-30 million, which, given their frail financial state, is an uphill task.
Baena’s contract with Villarreal is valid until June 30, 2028, explaining the high price and complicating matters for the Catalan giants.
Baena has played 19 games this season for Villarreal, scoring four goals and dishing out six assists.
A versatile operator, he can play at the base of the midfield as a pivot, in the two central midfield positions, as a left winger, and even as the most advanced man in the forward line. Such versatility has especially piqued Xavi’s interest.
Furthermore, he was called up by Spain manager Luis de la Fuente and made his debut for La Roja in September. He even ended up scoring for them.
Finances a hurdle
Barcelona have already filled Gavi’s void with Vitor Roque, who will join the Blaugranes this winter, with the striker set to be registered by making use of the space released from the midfielder’s injury.
As such, funding any more signings will be a challenge, and perhaps Barcelona will have to divert their attention to the Villarreal talent next summer.
If there is any exit in the winter or the Catalans receive the €40 million payment from Libero, it could open up the doors for a new signing apart from Roque.
Time will tell whether Barcelona can muster up the finances for his arrival, but they will keep their eyes peeled and carefully evaluate his growth.