Xavi has shortlisted three players from Barcelona’s squad to replace Busquets next season, as he is set for a move to the MLS next season.
In terms of skill set, it’s arguable that not a single player in Europe can match what Sergio Busquets accomplishes at Barcelona. The club is now a little concerned about losing such a special player because nobody can even come close to replacing him.
Busquets’ career is nearly over at age 33, especially at Barcelona. According to rumors, he will leave the Catalan capital after the 2022–23 season and head to the MLS to begin a new chapter.
If Xavi is working on a long-term project, he needs to begin planning for life without Busquets. Although it is obvious that Barça won’t look for a successor in the market this year, the coach does have a few choices inside the team for the following year.
In order to fill in for Busquets next season, Mundo Deportivo reports that Xavi will rely on Nico Gonzalez, Miralem Pjanic (if he stays), and on occasion even Franck Kessie.
Garcia Pimienta at Barcelona B used Nico as a defensive midfielder for the duration of the 2020–21 season. Nevertheless, after being promoted, he was mostly employed as a classic 8.
This year, Xavi will try to turn that around after utilizing the Spaniard in Busquets’ place briefly in the preseason.
Nico has excellent ball control and consistently carries the ball upward. However, there are also genuine concerns about his accurate passing, particularly if he is under pressure to emulate Busquets.
On the other hand, he is physically strong and, unlike Busquets, is able to handle swift defensive shifts.
Pjanic’s continued presence at Barcelona is not a given right away. In actuality, his leaving is much more likely than staying. However, his performance yesterday against Juventus in the deep midfield position was commendable.
Pjanic is the obvious Busquets replacement if Xavi wants his 6 to always have a passing option, advance the ball quickly, and be press-resistant.
Although the Bosnian’s defensive positioning can be a little suspect at times, no other midfielder on the club can match his passing range, and the Bosnian is absolutely unplayable when he is at his best.
Compared to the aforementioned pair, Kessie is a far superior defender. He can make an incredible slide tackle, is proactive, and has outstanding game reading skills. His skill set is best applied on the field, though.
The Ivorian’s technical prowess, together with his high level of pushing and keen eye for goal, make him the ideal 8. In spite of this, he can definitely be used as a lone pivot if necessary.