The appointment of Xavi Hernandez at the helm of affairs in the dressing room seems to be the game changer in Barca’s recent resurgence.
The former skipper has completely turned around the club’s fortune, using as little as six (6) months to transform the Catalan giants from a mediocre joke in Europe to a legit title contenders.
Xavi’s time didn’t start all rosy though, and was heavily boosted by the club’s recent acquisitions. Barca weren’t just financially insufficient, the club also had to deal with several of the first team stars getting injured at one point before and after Xavi took over from Ronald Koeman.
While the club has seen recent stabilization with the acquisition of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ferran Torres and Adama Traore (loan), a lot of players are still not certain of their time at the Catalan capital club.
Barca has been linked with virtually all players that are on the transfer market. At the moment, this are some of the concrete things we know about Ousmanne Dembele, Gavi, Araujo, Sergi Roberto, Sergino Dest, Memphis Depay, Rudiger, Andres Christensen, and other players whose contract are up in the air –
• Ousmanne Dembele
The 24-year-old speedster is in the final three months of his contract at Camp Nou and has been the subject of so many controversies of recent.
The Frenchman has been heavily linked with an exit all summer (and January) but recent form and growing importance to Xavi’s system have opened doors to contract renegotiations about a potential extension according to Spanish tabloids.
However, nothing is certain yet and Barca are said to be considering getting the on form Raphinha as a possible replacement if the forward decides to call it quits and move away.
Gavi has been a revelation this season. Little wonder Barca are pulling all levers to offer him an improved contract to keep him at the Nou Camp.
According to reports, FC Barcelona are closing in on securing the young Spaniard’s long-term future with a contract extension. Popular sports pundit, Romano Fabrizio was quoted as saying that –
“For Araujo we need to wait, but for Gavi, Barca are really optimistic. The contract is at the final stages, they need the final meeting to complete everything,” he said.
“For now Barca is in a moment where salaries are important because they are signing players on free transfers, Kessie, Christensen, so this is why the salary structure is really important for Barcelona.
“Since November, since December they have had everything in place for Gavi to sign a new contract but it’s not completed yet because of the salaries balance situation.
“It seems to be a matter of time from the player’s side and on Barca’s side the feeling is the same, optimistic.
“Gavi wants to continue with Barca, he’s a Barca fan, he’s super happy with the club, and so a work in progress to the final stages for Gavi’s new contract with Barca.”
Gavi’s importance to the team cannot be underestimated, and Xavi has also stated so. Gavi has featured on 35 occasions in all competitions for Barca this season.
• Ronald Araujo
Although twice injured this season, Araujo has made 33 appearances for the club, scoring four (4) important goals as well in the process.
The Uruguayan defender has been a rock at the heart of Barca’s defense, but his contract will be up by summer of 2023. This means both player and club have opened avenue for contract extension.
Araujo was alleged to have refused Barca’s first offer, but there are talks an improved offer has been made and that something concrete may soon manifest. The player deserves his contract situation improved and has proved on the field that he is worth every penny invested in him.
Talking about the situation, Xavi said –
“The club cannot allow itself to lose Gavi and Araujo, they are very important for us and I am showing that with the minutes I am giving them. I am optimistic and I hope that a solution can be found soon. I think that it’s a question of time. Or so I hope,” Xavi told reporters.
So, apparently, time will tell what happens next. On his part, Araujo was quoted as stating –
“I am optimistic about renewing my contract,“I want to resolve it quickly to stay for many years. I am happy here with the affection of the fans.” Araujo said.
“I want to resolve it quickly to stay for many years. I am happy here with the affection of the fans.” Araujo said.
• Sergi Roberto
The versatile midfielder has been under fire to renew or find new suitors since the January transfer window. His future at Barcelona remains uncertain and will be out of contract at the end of the season if his contract is not renewed.
Here’s what Barca President, Joan Laporta said about his contract situation –
“At the moment this is in the hands of the representatives. Sergi Roberto is a player that we have a lot of appreciation for, personally, he has given many years of glory and a lot of football to Barça, now he is recovering from an injury and his contract is ending. He was offered the renewal at the time, I even intervened so that there were conditions in consensus with the two parties and they did not want to sign that renewal.
“So we understand that since they didn’t want to sign and now his contract is ending… We’ll see, because he is a player that we have to have special consideration and deference to because he has been part of a glorious stage in Barça’s history. That will focus on talking to him and making things clear for both parties.”
With the emergence of Pedri, Frenkie de Jong, Gavi, Nico, Coutinho (loan) and AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie likely to come, Sergi Roberto’s time may be coming to an end at the Nou Camp.
• Sergino Dest
At the moment, Barca is not totally convinced about Sergino Dest’s capacity to own the right back position.
The former Benfica star who was bought to replace Nelson Semedo has seen mixed fortunes this season even as he fights off injuries that has derailed his play this season.
This situation means the USMNT player has often found himself starting from the bench in place of Dani Alves or even to Araujo in some cases.
There are rumours he may be part of a deal to get Bayern Munich striker, Robert Lewandoski. But, nothing is concrete yet and the news remain tabloid gossips.
• Memphis Depay
Fabrizio Romano, a well respected transfer pundit said on the ‘Here We Go’ Podcast (29/03/22) that –
“Yes, there are still some rumours about Memphis Depay, especially from Spain about Memphis Depay and Tottenham.
“What I am told is that there is no proposal from Tottenham, it’s something they’re not discussing now and it’s not a priority right now.
“Kulusevski will stay next season and he’s a player they’re super happy with, and Son is of course also part of the project. For Tottenham, Memphis Depay is not a priority, that is what I am told.”
If that’s the case, there is no telling what happens now. But, Barca have not yet made any decisions regarding the sale or no sale of the Dutchman. The coach also consider him an integral part of the first team, although Aubameyang’s recent form means limited game time for Depay.
• Luuk de Jong
Barcelona confirmed on Saturday that Dutch striker Luuk de Jong has tested positive for Covid-19.
Signed on loan, the Dutchman has seen limited play time since the January arrivals took centre stage. However, he has been a reliable back up striker for the team. He was signed on a one year loan deal and it doesn’t look like it will be renewed at the end of the season.
• Frenkie de Jong
De Jong has impressed in Xavi’s midfield, maintaining a regular starting role that has seen his game improve considerably. At this point though, no one at Barca is considering selling the Dutchman.
Frenkie de Jong likes Barcelona, and has indeed stated his intentions to stay long-term.
“To live in Barcelona is fantastic,” he told Ziggo Sport via Sport.
“I don’t think there are many places better to live.”
When de Jong joined La Blaugrana in 2019, he signed a mammoth six-year contract. Asked if he would sign another six-year contract to stay at the club when his current deal eventually ends, he simply responded: “yes, probably.”
• Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen
Barcelona president Joan Laporta has stylishly confirmed that Barca have agreed deals to sign Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen this summer.
Both players will become free agents at the end of the season. Franck Kessie already rejected AC Milan’s contract offers and is reportedly completing his medical with Barcelona.
Meanwhile, Christensen’s Chelsea deal cannot be renewed while sanctions on current owner Roman Abramovich are in place. Joan Laporta may have accidentally confirmed reports claiming the duo will arrive at Camp Nou.
Speaking to RAC1, Laporta said:
“We’ve completed two signings for the next season. One is a midfielder, the other one is a centre back. But I’m not allowed to mention their names.”
The players are likely Kessie and Christensen.
• Antonio Rudiger
Chelsea defender, Antonio Rudiger will be out of contract at the end of the current season and Barcelona manager Xavi is allegedly interested in bringing the German to the Nou Camp.
He is reportedly demanding an annual salary of €7million ( £113,000/week) and a signing-on fee from FC Barcelona.
He earns £100,000/week and Chelsea have been trying to negotiate an extension with his representatives for some time. It’s unlikely an extra £13,000/week would’ve been a stumbling block.
Previous reports suggested that Rudiger wanted an improved contract between £200,000-a-week to £225,000-a-week. The Germany international would be within his rights to ask for such an increase after helping Chelsea win the Champions League last season.