Losing a player like Sergio Busquets is never easy, replacing him is even harder. Earlier this month Joan Laporta advised Barcelona manager Xavi to first look within the club for his replacement, and it sounds as if he’s found one in 17-year-old Pau Prim.
According to a report in SPORT, Xavi has hand-picked Prim as the long-term successor to Sergio Busquets after monitoring the youth midfielder closely for several months.
The La Massia product was not included in the Barca squad for their pre-season tour of the USA, instead staying behind to work with Óscar López and the training staff of the U19 team.
However, it would be wrong to read too much into that considering Prim has already trained with the first team on plenty of occasions and even started the friendly game against Andres Iniesta’s Vissel Kobe at the start of June.
Oriol Romeu fills the short-term need, but Prim is the long-term answer
Prim is still developing as a player, both technically and physically, and as such he’s not ready to stake a claim to a first-team place just yet.
To fill the void between Busquets leaving and Prim being ready, the La Liga champions signed Girona midfielder Oriol Romeu.
The 31-year-old former Barca youth player re-joined the Catalan giants on a three-year deal, which runs through to the end of June 2026.
The ideal scenario is that Pau Prim is ready at that point to take over, meaning that ideally, he has first-team experience under his belt by 2025 at the latest.
The pivot role that Busquets occupied is both physically and mentally demanding but Xavi believes that Prim’s profile is the closest match to the club legend.
Prim has already shown the ability to orchestrate from midfield, and his technical ability on the ball makes him ideal for a heavy-possession-based team.
He’ll need to continue to improve his physicality, but he’s not afraid of a challenge and his vision allows him to cut the ball out with excellent positional awareness.
Prim is comfortable with both feet and is already showing a natural feel for leadership.
It’s going to be interesting to see how he develops this season and if Xavi gives him any opportunities with the first-team squad, even if it’s just in training scenarios.