Xavi was under the scanner after a defeat against Villarreal in the last La Liga match of this season. Alphonso Pedraza and Moi Gomez scored a goal in each half to deny in-form Barcelona 3 points at Camp Nou on Sunday evening.
Barcelona finished another season without silverware but there are plenty of positives to take since the appointment of former legendary figure Xavi as manager. Barcelona was struggling for consistency under the former manager Ronald Koeman at the start of this season. Xavi replaced the Dutchman in early November last year and struggled to find his rhythm till February this month.
The Catalan giants finished in 2nd position but 13 points behind leaders Real Madrid in La Liga points table. This is the third consecutive season with no league trophy or European success for Barcelona. Fans witnessed a tough changes last summer with Lionel Messi leaving the club, Joan Laporta being reappointed a director and mid-season managerial change as well.
Barcelona are also under the pressure of financial fair play rules with a heavy wage budge, which saw Messi leaving the club. They were also forced to sell key players Philippe Coutinho, Luis Suarez, and Ivan Rakitic in recent transfer windows to ease of the burden on wage bill.
They did sign star forward Ferran Torres for €55 million from Manchester City in the winter transfer window. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Adam Traore also arrived from the Premier League and were instrumental in securing Champions League qualification for the next season.
Now, Xavi has already moving forward with preparation for the next season with the summer transfer window opening next month. The Spanish tactician is facing the toughest task with French forward Ousmane Dembele, who has just a month left on his Camp Nou contract.
Barcelona And Xavi Are Still Coy On Ousmane Dembele’s Future:
Dembele was on the verge of leaving Barcelona in January transfer window but failed to attract any suitors because of his extremer wage demands. The 25-year-old versatile forward arrived at Camp Nou from Borussia Dortmund in 2017 with a price tag of €145 million. But the French forward has struggled with fitness and injuries which led to a dip in form as well. He made just 21 La Liga appearances this season, scoring just 1 goal and assisting 13 more. His relationship with club took an ugly turn in January after the Catalan giants stating that the player will not be involved in the first team till he signs a new contract. Xavi also supported the club’s decision publicly but later took a u-turn and allowed Dembele to join his first team.
Xavi was asked about Dembele’s future at the club after match against Villarreal. He was quick to praise the Frenchman but still coy on his contract situation at the club. Xavi stated that the player deserves to be happy and hailed his recent professionalism.
“I can only speak well of Ousmane, he has helped us a lot these months. He will look for his happiness, we will see how it ends. He has been an impeccable professional like everyone,” – Xavi on Ousmane Dembele.
Dembele endured another poor season and is very unlikely to renew his contract next month. Paris Saint-Germain are the only leading candidates for the former Bundesliga star but they need to sell either one of Neymar or Messi to make funds available for his signature.
Xavi Loves Neymar:
Neymar has made a great comeback from his injury with some impressive performances this season. He finished Ligue 1 season with 13 goals but made only 22 appearances with consistent fitness issues. The 30-year-old Brazilian joined PSG from Barcelona in 2017 for a world record fee of €220 million. Now PSG are reportedly looking to offload Neymar after securing a contract extension with Kylian Mbappe two days ago.
Barcelona are always linked with possible return of Neymar and are once again touted for a summer bid. Xavi has always spoken highly about Neymar in the past and was asked about his plans on brining Neymar back to Camp Nou this summer.
“We haven’t spoken about it. We want to first strengthen our positions of priority and then we’ll see. Neymar is a player I love, but at the moment I have not spoken to the president about trying to bring him back.” – Xavi on Neymar. Barcelona are expected to be very busy in the summer market as Xavi will be looking for a big change before his first full-season as a manager. Barcelona are reportedly looking to bring in new forward after selling Memphis Depay and Ousmane Dembele. A new central midfielder is also on the agenda with Dutchman Frenkie de Jong is expected to leave this summer