Xavi has presented Barcelona with a list of four players he would like to target if he becomes their next coach, according to reports – and it features one Manchester United player.
Barcelona recently sacked Ronald Koeman after a turbulent start to the season. After losing Lionel Messi in the summer, the new era has not got off to a good start at Camp Nou. They are now hoping to turn to club legend Xavi to turn things around.
The former midfielder is currently coaching Al Sadd in Qatar. But Barcelona want to buy him out of his contract and take him back to Catalonia. President Joan Laporta will have to travel to Qatar to negotiate directly with their counterparts if they are to reach a successful conclusion, as per AS.
Xavi will have a major rebuilding job on his hands after Barca’s third-place finish last season. After 11 games this season, they are stuck down in ninth place.
Due to their financial difficulties, it has not been easy for Barcelona to strengthen their squad. In addition to Messi, they had to let go of the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Junior Firpo and Emerson Royal.
In terms of their own signings, they had to rely largely on options in the free market. Sergio Aguero, Eric Garcia and Memphis Depay all joined the club without transfer fees.
But the Barcelona squad still needs reinforcing and Xavi knows it. With that in mind, he has shortlisted four potential targets if he takes over – according to El Nacional.
A standout name on the list is Paul Pogba. The midfielder is in the final year of his contract with Manchester United, who could lose him for free for a second time in his career.
His availability on such terms next summer would fit in with Barcelona’s recent strategy if they can accommodate his wage demands.
Rivals Real Madrid are also hoping to acquire Pogba for free, while there is additional competition from Juventus and PSG. However, El Nacional remind that agent Mino Raiola has a good relationship with Laporta, which could help.
There is a gap for Barcelona to fill in their midfield, where they wanted to sign Georginio Wijnaldum after his exit from Liverpool in the summer but missed out to PSG.
Pogba, a World Cup winner with France in 2018, would be a statement signing if they can win the race for his signature.
Pogba cheapest name on Barcelona wishlist
Also on Xavi’s shortlist, according to the report, is another Raiola client – Erling Haaland.
The Borussia Dortmund striker has become one of the most in-demand players in the world. He will be available for a release clause that does not reflect his true value next summer.
Barca may make him their next number nine after outlining the Norwegian as their top target. They would have to see how their finances are next year, but would not want to miss out on a player also chased by several sides across Europe.
Haaland has been linked with the likes of Man Utd, Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea. But Barcelona could do with a striker too given Aguero’s physical issues that have surfaced since his arrival.
Xavi also wants Dani Olmo, the RB Leipzig attacker who previously came through the club’s academy. He would be willing to return to Camp Nou, potentially even in January.
Finally, but with the most complications, Barca are interested in Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde. The Frenchman was a top target for Chelsea in the summer before a disagreement over his fee.
It seems unfeasible that Barca, in their current state, could sign all four players. Therefore, they may have to pick their priorities – but the lure of getting Pogba for free could be among the most tempting options, especially if it denies rivals Real Madrid the chance to take him too.