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Werner and Ziyech top Barca shortlist

With former player and serial winner Xavi Hernanez now firmly installed as Barcelona manager, the general feeling is that hard work will now begin in earnest.

No doubt Xavi will want to see the club return back to the same policies that were adopted so successfully by Pep Guardiola during his highly successful reign. Barca’s transfer policy over the last few years leaves little to be desired.

While Raheem Sterling had been identified originally, it appears that Chelsea duo Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech may be more realistic as January loan options, with a purchase option.

Werner and Ziyech top Barca shortlist

Barca near to spending limit

The perilous situation that the club found itself in, following the global pandemic, due to fiscal irresponsibility beforehand, has stretched the club considerably.

Appointing Xavi and his backroom staff jas pushed them to close their spending limit for the season, which will see the Catalan club target loan signings in the winter window. More specifically, they are focusing their recruitment efforts around players who are not regular fixtures at their clubs. It appears that Ziyech and Werner fit the bill.

After difficult starts to their Chelsea careers, both players have actually shown signs that they can have important roles at the club after some good performances this season (Werner until he got injured).

It could be that Chelsea only sanctions one (if any) of these, however, Xavi has reportedly targeted compatriot Cesar Azpilicueta who is out of contract at the Blues next summer.

 

How will Xavi reshape Barca?

What is likely is that the former Barca player will return to a version of the style of play that was so successful for his mentor Guardiola.

A tiki-taka with a high press strategy is likely to be the long term target, though he will need the appropriate personnel. He knows that this will not happen overnight and with financial resources limited, it is likely that a complete analysis of La Masia (the fabled youth academy) will be conducted.

Xavi and indeed the majority of his Barca teammates were products of La Masia and the Spaniard will no doubt want to make sure the requisite coaching philosophies are implemented as soon as possible.

The club already has a number of highly talented prospects who have broken into the first team over the last 12 months – one in particular being Ansu Fati, who is regarded as this generation’s version of club legend Lionel Messi.

While this season might prove too early to understand exactly what Xavi has in store, this should start to take shape over the next 18 months.