Xavi Hernandez returned to Barcelona yesterday after visiting Qatar to attend the FIFA World Cup 2022. The 42-year-old is now set to meet with club director Mateu Alemany to prepare strategies for the upcoming transfer windows.
At the moment, Barça are not in a position to sign new players due to Financial Fair Play issues. But with work being done to address that, the Catalans are sketching out their plans and have set two positions as priorities, reports SPORT.
The objectives for the Blaugrana would be signing a new right-back and a pivot midfielder to take over from captain Sergio Busquets.
The 34-year-old is in the final year of his contract and is largely expected to leave in the summer as a free agent, even though he recently insisted that he has not decided on his next move.
Several names like Ruben Neves, Martin Zubimendi, and Enzo Fernandez have been touted as possible targets for Barcelona to replace Busquets.
But according to the aforementioned report from SPORT, Xavi now wants Manchester City captain Ilkay Gundogan to take over from Busquets at Barcelona.
The report states that the manager believes the German international can adapt to the demands of playing as a pivot in his team. He is aware that the Manchester City veteran is an intelligent player and would add versatility to the table as well.
Xavi has thus asked for reports on how Gundogan is off the pitch from people in Manchester before he can sign off on the move.
What makes the former Borussia Dortmund ace an enticing prospect for Barcelona is that he will be out of contract in the summer and would be available for free.
However, City boss Pep Guardiola, who recently signed a new deal with the club, wants to keep Gundogan at the Etihad Stadium for another year. But if the player himself seeks an exit, the Catalan coach will not stand in his way.
What is clear is that signing Gundogan in January would be impossible and Barcelona would have to wait until the end of the season to try and swoop in for the Manchester City icon.