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Xavi talks Lewandowski, Dembele, Gavi, Pedri, Araujo, de Jong, Kounde, transfers



Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Speaking in an interview on Movistar+, Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez made it clear that he wants to sign two new midfielders as an absolute priority for the summer transfer window.

The 43-year-old stressed that the Blaugrana are in need of a creative interior midfielder and a pivot player to replace captain Sergio Busquets.

“I need two signings in midfield. I lack an interior and with Busquets’ departure, we also need a pivot. This has to be the priority,” Xavi said.

During the course of the interview, Xavi touched on several of his players and highlighted qualities about them that made them special.

Speaking about Robert Lewandowski, who won the La Liga Pichichi Trophy in his debut season, the Barça head coach said:

“He has been the great leader this season. He’s very happy here. We are talking about a world-class player. Robert has given us instant leadership. He’s an absolute winner.”

There have been talks about Ronald Araujo taking over one of the captaincy roles for next season following the exits of Jordi Alba and Busquets. Backing the Uruguayan to become the club skipper, Xavi said:

“Sooner or later he’s going to be captain of Barcelona. He’s a natural leader.”

Just before the end of the season, there was a lot of chatter surrounding Jules Kounde and his reluctance to continue playing at right-back. Commenting on the matter, Xavi made it clear that he did not sign the Frenchman to use him at full-back, but circumstances were like that.

“I didn’t sign him to play as right-back, but it was an emergency. And he has also done it very well. But it’s clear that we are missing a right-back,” the manager stated.

Barcelona are blessed with the finest core of central midfielders in the form of Gavi, Pedri, and Frenkie de Jong, three players who are set to dominate world football for years to come.

Xavi spoke about each of the three players individually and was full of praise, while also marking out areas of improvement.

On Gavi, he said: “He puts passion into everything. When I see him run on the pitch, I get goosebumps, because of how he competes. He’s wonderful, he’s good with both feet and he has a brutal personality.”

On de Jong, the manager added: “He’s our most chaotic player within the order. He has some impressive virtues. He’s a huge player. We have found the ideal position for him. He only needs the final pass, to dare more.”

And speaking about Pedri, Xavi exclaimed: “He does everything right. I see him even more similar to Iniesta than to me. I didn’t have the speed that he has. I want him to participate more. He now has an average of 70 or 80 passes, and I want 100 or 110 from him. When Pedri has the ball, my heart rate drops.”

Finally, there was also talk about Ousmane Dembele, who is reportedly close to signing a new contract until 2027. Xavi spoke highly of the Frenchman, but insisted that he needed to become more consistent, saying:

“He can be a 10 or a 2. And the goal is for him to be more and more a 10 than a 2. He knows more about football than anyone. His potential is enormous. When a full-back faces Ousmane, he sees a guy with a gun.”

Finally, talking about the team’s failure in Europe this season, Xavi claimed that Barcelona do not belong in the UEFA Europa League and they must always play and aspire to win the Champions League.

“I already told the players that we can never play the Europa League again. I’m sorry, but Barcelona are not made to play the Europa League. It does not motivate the players nor the fanbase. We have to play the Champions League and we have to aspire to win it.”

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