Sergio Busquets’ announcement of leaving Barcelona after 18 years and 719 appearances in search of a new challenge has intensified the hierarchy’s own search for a new midfielder.
The 34-year-old has been an important part of Xavi‘s squad, making 25 La Liga starts in a campaign that is now destined to end the club’s four-year wait for a league title. Replacing him at Camp Nou is going to be a challenging task, especially when considering that the squad is bereft of any other natural defensive midfielder.
Barcelona have been heavily linked with Ruben Neves of Wolves ahead of the summer transfer window. And now it’s being suggested there’s already an agreement between the La Liga leaders and the agent of the Premier League midfielder.
According to Ferran Martinez (via Reshad Rahman), club president Joan Laporta has a ‘verbal agreement’ with Jorge Mendes for the Wolves star. However, it’s added that the deal is subject to the sale of Ansu Fati and whether the agent manages to sell him for a minimum of €30 million fee or more.
Barcelona have ‘verbal agreement’ with agent for midfielder
The task of convincing Fati to depart and meet Barca’s asking price at the same time is going to be harder for the super-agent than facilitating Neves’ move to Camp Nou. The La Masia graduate remains keen on continuing at his boyhood club.
There are also reasonable concerns over Neves’ suitability in Xavi’s system. Although he often plays as the deepest midfielder for Wolves, he isn’t a natural defensive midfielder. He was handed the same role by Julen Lopetegui in their 2-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester United on Saturday afternoon.
Playing the 26-year-old in that position involves the risk of getting caught out of position. He’s also susceptible to losing possession in dangerous areas, and almost cost his side a goal on Saturday afternoon after Bruno Fernandes intercepted his wayward pass near the penalty area.