The Lionel Messi saga is over – amid reports of his moving to Saudi Arabia and a potential return to FC Barcelona, he’s now going to Inter Miami and the MLS. The whole story has been dominating the media for the past few weeks, and it’s been on everyone’s mind seemingly since Messi left Barcelona in the first place. But it’s done now. The discourse around Barcelona and their summer transfers seems to have pivoted, and quickly. It’s been reported that without the signing of Messi, Barça will have much more flexibility when it comes to other players. Messi himself said so:
"Even though I heard that they said that the league had accepted everything and that everything was OK for me to come back… there were still a lot of other things missing. I heard that they had to sell players or lower the salaries of players and the truth is that I didn’t want to go through that, nor be responsible or have anything to do with all that. – Sport"
It appears the non-signing of Lionel Messi leaves Xavi’s Barça with a few questions, but also clears up some things. While he is the greatest player of all time, the whole Messi saga was becoming a media thundercloud over the team. It’s sad that he isn’t returning, but… maybe now they can move on?
The question is then, how? What should FC Barcelona do moving forward? Let’s take a look.
Sergio Busquets is another player that may join Inter Miami. Regardless of where he goes, he won’t be playing in Catalonia next season. Therefore, Xavi rightfully considers a replacement for him paramount. Frenkie de Jong is a remarkable player that they should keep for years to come, but playing as a single pivot hasn’t produced the greatest results for him. The Barcelona manager has also determined another midfielder is necessary, especially if Franck Kessie moves out. So let’s talk about a few midfield targets Barça have been linked to (even if they’re not all direct Busquets replacements).