Barcelona identify in-house replacement for outgoing club captain Sergio Busquets: Reports

FC Barcelona v RCD Mallorca - LaLiga Santander
Barcelona have identified an in-house replacement for Sergio Busquets

According to El Nacional, Barcelona have identified La Masia product Nico Gonzalez as the replacement for the departing Sergio Busquets. The 21-year-old starlet currently plies his trade for La Liga side Valencia as a defensive midfielder, on loan from Barcelona.

Barcelona have been fairly active in trying to find an adequate replacement for club captain Sergio Busquets. The 34-year-old announced on May 10 that he would be leaving the Spotify Camp Nou after 18 years at the end of the season. Busquets made over 720 appearances and won 32 major trophies, including nine La Liga titles and three UEFA Champions League trophies.

The Blaugrana's initial targets to replace him were Bayern Munich star Joshua Kimmich and Real Sociedad's Martin Zubimendi, however, their price is too high for the club hierarchy.

Cheaper alternatives like Ruben Neves and N'Golo Kante also came up as possible replacements for Busquets but Xavi Hernandez wasn't convinced.

An in-house replacement that reportedly appeals to Mateu Alemany and Joan Laporta is Barcelona loanee Nico Gonzalez. The Spain U21 international made his debut in the summer of 2021, poetically coming on as a substitute for Sergio Busquets in a 4-2 win over Real Sociedad.

Gonzalez made 37 appearances for Barcelona in the 2021-22 season, scoring two goals and providing two assists. He renewed his contract until 2026 at the end of the season and joined Valencia on a season-long loan soon after.

His 2022-23 season has been impacted by injuries, limiting him to just 25 total appearances. However, if Xavi Hernandez is convinced, he could be a great addition, free of cost for next season.

Barcelona fall out of the race to sign Lionel Messi in summer transfer window: Reports

As per Brazilian journalist Marcelo Bechler (via Barca Universal), Barcelona's hopes of bringing Lionel Messi back to the Spotify Camp Nou are over.

The La Liga champions are reportedly being held back by financial problems. They need time to generate enough revenue before they can make a move for the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner. Messi is set to leave Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) as a free agent after two seasons at the club.

Time is a factor the Blaugrana simply don't have as MLS giant Inter Miami and Saudi Pro League side Al-Hilal have already submitted blockbuster offers for Messi. The 35-year-old could make his decision 'in the next few days', which would be the final nail in the coffin for Barcelona.

This would be a grim reality for Barcelona fans to face this summer. Lionel Messi left the club in 2021 due to financial issues as well after 17 years at the club. He made 778 appearances in all competitions and scored 672 goals for the Blaugrana. He also won 34 trophies there, solidifying himself as one of the best footballers to ever play the game.

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Edited by Nihal
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