According to journalist Adria Albets (h/t BarçaTimes), Xavi has made it absolutely clear that he wants Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Zubimendi to replace exit-bound Sergio Busquets. The 24-year-old is the manager’s clear favourite, says the journalist.
Xavi has made himself known that before bringing any attacking or defensive reinforcement, the team must find a pivot. At the moment, while Zubimendi is someone who is seriously being considered, Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich and Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Ruben Neves are other options.
However, although Neves is someone who has already agreed personal terms with Barcelona, we have reported before that although he is taken into consideration, Xavi does not really want him as a defensive pivot.
Interestingly enough, it is known that Xavi’s absolute preference is to acquire Zubimendi. This was made evident when the manager spoke highly of the midfielder before his side’s home game against Real Sociedad.
“Zubimendi is an extraordinary pivot,” Xavi said before the match.
“He dominates the game, the moments with and without the ball. He wins duels, he is an extraordinary player in that position. He understands the model we like at Barça.”
Earlier reports suggested that the player’s release clause, worth €60 million, was proving to be the stumbling block. However, as reported before, representatives of both Barcelona and Real Sociedad recently spoke about the midfielder during a recent board members’ lunch.
While the 24-year-old was heavily discussed, Sociedad opened the gates for Zubimendi’s acquisition after they expressed interest in signing Barcelona players Abde Ezzalzouli, Pablo Torre, and Nico Gonzalez.
Sociedad’s interest in the Barcelona trio could be a major boost for the team as this could trim down the price to a great extent. Although the players are considered to be Barcelona’s future, Zubimendi fulfils the immediate requirement and will be a valuable addition to the team.