Manager Xavi Hernandez has confirmed that Sergio Busquets will stay at Barcelona until at least the end of the season.
It was claimed back in October that Busquets wants to leave Camp Nou and could be open to joining Major League Soccer (MLS) next summer. However, Xavi's latest words will offer fans hope that the Spaniard could be at the club next season.
Speaking to reporters ahead of his team's La Liga derby against Espanyol on Saturday (31 December), the Spanish tactician said (h/t Fabrizio Romano):
"Busquets will stay with us until the end of his contract in June. Then we'll see, it will be his decision. If things go very well, we will try to convince him to continue."
The Spaniard has lost a few yards of pace compared to his heyday but he remains one of La Liga's best midfielders when in possession. He also traveled with Spain to the 2022 FIFA World Cup and captained them in all four of their matches.
Barca currently have Gavi and Pedri as the present and future of their midfield, with Frenkie de Jong and Franck Kessie also vying for minutes. Moreover, they are said to be monitoring Real Sociedad's Martin Zubimendi as a potential successor to Busquets.
The 143-cap Spain international has made 17 appearances across competitions this campaign. This shows that he will have enough chances to prove his worth to Xavi in the second half of the season.
Busquets is a living legend for Barcelona, having made 696 appearances for the senior team throughout his career. He has won every major trophy in world football and could add to his tally if Barca hold onto their two-point lead at the top of the league table.
Xavi's comments complement Barcelona chief's verdict on Busquets
Barcelona sporting director Jordi Cruyff claimed earlier this month that Busquets will be the master of his own destination when his contract expires in 2023. He told AS:
"Obviously, the club is in permanent contact with him and with his agents, which is normal, and when the time comes, a joint decision will be taken. There are players who deserve special treatment. Everyone deserves respect but some deserve special treatment because it's life at Barça. When the time comes, we will talk."
The Spaniard is expected to start once against Xavi's midfield three when Barca take on Espanyol tomorrow. After 14 La Liga matches, the Catalan giants have a two-point lead over rivals Real Madrid with 37 points.