First off, Martín Zubimendi. The 24-year old had a magnificent season for Real Sociedad. He certainly seems to be the most direct Busquets comparison of the group, with Busquets himself claiming he plays very similarly. However, he does have a €60 million release clause – hefty.
Ruben Neves, from Wolverhampton, is another name that has been heavily bandied about by the media. I actually rather like Neves, although comparisons to Busquets are sure to disappoint, as he just isn’t the same type of player. As an option for depth, however, I wouldn’t be opposed to it. Despite this, Xavi and his staff seem to not rate him highly for what they’re trying to do, which is fair enough. It seems Joan Laporta’s board are pushing for him more strongly than the coaches, maybe as part of a deal to sell Ansu Fati.
What about Sofyan Amrabat? Personally, I believe he could bring a skillset that this team doesn’t have, but the 26-year-old, who played a huge role for Morocco in the World Cup, can’t be the only midfield signing Barça make. They need players of a different style more than him.
Joshua Kimmich is a very interesting option. The 28-year-old German is full of quality, but it’s hard to believe that a deal for him can be worked out with Bayern Munich, especially since he’s under contract with them for a while yet. İlkay Gündoğan is another tremendous player that Barça would love to have, on a free transfer to boot. There have been rumors of the 32-year-old signing a new contract with Manchester City, but it does seem quite possible that Laporta could snatch him up. There are some other options, such as Bernardo Silva and Gabri Veiga, but they seem a bit more out there and unlikely to happen (although Veiga, in my opinion, at the tender age of 21, would be a steal).
So what can be done with the midfield? In my opinion, two signings are really all we’d need, and those two are Zubimendi and Gündoğan. Zubimendi would be a big splash this summer, moneywise, but he’s honestly worth it. He’s full of ability and defensive prowess, is familiar with La Liga, and is the closest thing to Busquets that we’ve seen Barça linked to. Gündoğan is an amazing player still, as his recent showings for City have proved, and a veteran midfielder that has savvy and a knack for goal may be just what they need for this squad.