Barcelona’s search for a Sergio Busquets replacement has landed them on a surprise midfield transfer target: Argentina international Giovani Lo Celso.
Busquets’ decision to wave goodbye to Camp Nou after 18 years of service has left Barcelona without a single senior defensive midfielder in their ranks. While the 34-year-old is closing on a reunion with Lionel Messi at Inter Miami, Barca are yet to make a final decision on their ideal pivot for the next season.
The Catalan outfit have been linked with several midfielders, including Bayern Munich star Joshua Kimmich and Wolves’ Rúben Neves. The former is not for sale, as thing stands, and the latter has been lured by Saudi Arabia side Al Hilal.
İlkay Gündoğan is also admired by the hierarchy, but the Champions League-winning midfielder is still yet to make a final decision on his future. Manchester City want to extend the German’s stay and he has also attracted interest from Saudi. Keeping this in mind, Barca have earmarked a Plan B option.
Barcelona identify surprise star to strengthen midfield
As per Marca, Lo Celso is considered an option to rejuvenate Xavi’s midfield in the event they fail to convince Gündoğan to move to La Liga on a free transfer.
The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder has spent the last 18 months on loan at Villarreal and has impressed Barcelona with his exploits from the middle of the park in Spain. Spurs aren’t too keen on bringing him back and with his contract in north London set to expire in 2025, Lo Celso could be available for a relatively low fee.
The 27-year-old’s best football in eastern Spain has come as the most advanced midfielder, but he’s also done well as a box-to-box outlet. He’s not exactly the ideal pivot but may prove to be an excellent option in Xavi’s four-midfielder system.