Barring a dramatic twist in the tale, it looks all but certain that Sergio Busquets will leave Barcelona at the end of the season, with MLS a possible destination.
The 34-year-old midfielder has been with the Blaugrana for half his life, but it seems a new chapter is now on the horizon. Replacing him will be no easy task, which is why the search is already well underway.
The Barcelona board have already identified several potential solutions for the Busquets role going forward and hope to have a decision ready to implement before the midfielder leaves.
The list of possible replacements includes two names that the Catalan club have had their eyes on for a while: Martin Zubimendi of Real Sociedad and Ruben Neves of Wolves.
Barcelona like the Basque midfielder a lot, but La Real are notoriously tough negotiators and it’s unlikely they’d let their homegrown star leave for less than his release clause, currently set at 60 million euros.
At 23-years-old, Zubimendi has already made over 100 appearances for La Real’s first team and he continues to improve. He was part of Spain’s silver-medal-winning team at the last Olympics.
The other major name in the frame for Busquets’ role is Ruben Neves, who at 25-years-old and with 30 Portugal caps, is a more established option.
Naturally, he wouldn’t come cheaply either, though, but he is represented by Jorge Mendes, who has an excellent relationship with Joan Laporta.
Something closer to home
Barcelona do have other ideas, however, and they may decide they don’t need to go out and sign a replacement. Nico, currently on loan at Valencia, could return home to inherit the no.6 position, so Xavi will be watching him closely this season.