Barcelona got the better of Elche in an exciting La Liga encounter on Saturday. Nico Gonzalez scored an 85th minute winner to help the Catalans break a three-game winless streak across all competitions. Xavi Hernandez and co. have a lot of work to do and the club is also looking to bring in reinforcements during the January transfer window.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the top stories involving Barcelona from 19 December 2021
Xavi says team has to bring back Barcelona’s model of play
It hasn’t been smooth sailing for Xavi Hernandez in his early days as Barcelona manager. He has had to oversee their unceremonious exit from the Champions League without making it to the knockout stages.
Xavi, who left Barcelona in 2015, said after the 3-2 win against Elche that he has been surprised by what he has seen since returning to the club. He said that the club has lost its old model of play and that they need to bring it back. In his post-match interview, Xavi said:
“We’ve lost [Barcelona’s] model of play and we have to bring it back. I have not been here for six years and there are things that have surprised me tactically. I wasn’t here so I don’t know who’s responsible for it, but it’s making [the job] hard for us.
“The large majority [of players] don’t understand positional play. There are mechanisms that I understood from the age of 11 and we have players here that haven’t worked on them.”
Barcelona will look to sign three forwards next year
Due to their financial woes, Barcelona have had to sign players from the free agent market and also depend on loan deals to bolster their squad. However, the strategy has largely failed to work out.
Free agent signing Sergio Aguero has had to retire from football. Memphis Depay’s form has faded. Players like Yusuf Demir and Luuk De Jong, who are on loan, are set to be offloaded in January. Defender Eric Garcia, another player who was signed on a free transfer this past summer, hasn’t been very consistent either.
According to El Nacional, Xavi and Barcelona president Joan Laporta had a meeting to discuss future signings. As per the report, Xavi will be handed a €225 million warchest to sign three top forwards namely Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland, RB Leipzig’s Dani Olmo and Manchester City‘s Ferran Torres.
While Barcelona will look to sign Torres next month for a sum in the ballpark of €50 million, they are likely to make a move for Olmo and Haaland in the summer. Both players will be available for cheaper in the summer than they will be in January.
Barcelona considering a move for Marcus Rashford
Mundo Deportivo claim that Barcelona are keeping tabs on Marcus Rashford. The Catalans are interested in the Manchester United forward. The 24-year-old has previously stated in an interview with The Guardian that Barcelona and Real Madrid are the only two clubs he’d leave Old Trafford for.
The Catalans are reportedly eyeing a move for Rashford in the summer of 2022 or January 2023. Rashford has entered the final 18 months of his contract and Barcelona know that if he doesn’t extend his deal, he will be available for cheap in 2023.
Rashford has made 12 appearances across all competitions for the Red Devils this term, scoring three goals and providing an assist.
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