Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta reviews the Brighton game
Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez will reportedly tell four players they can leave this summer as the La Liga giants eye a huge windfall to ease their troubles with the domestic governing body. The Blaugrana need to offload players to raise funds which will go towards reducing the amount needed to be saved to ensure the club operates within the parameters, and it will be music to the ears of Arsenal and Tottenham as they reportedly line up swoops.
Just days after clinching the title with four games to spare, Xavi is handed the difficult task of convincing bit-part players in his squad that their playing days will be better spent elsewhere. Some may think the timing is harsh, given Barca have only had the best part of two days to celebrate their success after showing off the domestic title around Barcelona in Monday’s trophy parade.
But the club have a set deadline to meet on June 30, by which time they must have raised a large portion of £217m (euro 250m) needed to meet La Liga’s financial cap.
In order to do that, the Catalan giants reportedly have to sell some of their most valuable players, at least in terms of transfer fee. And Sport claim that Xavi has chosen Ansu Fati, Jordi Alba, Franck Kessie and Ferran Torres in order to raise those funds.
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The 43-year-old will have to be ruthless in handing out his judgements as he prepares to inform all four players of their fate, with interest likely to follow from Europe’s top five leagues.
Reports suggest Arsenal and Wolves have already opened talks over a move for Fati and Torres could interest Mikel Arteta with more signings likely this summer, after all but failing to remove Manchester City’s grip on the Premier League title.
Similarly, Spurs were keen on capturing Kessie in January before they decided against bringing in a midfielder, with Arnaut Danjuma and Pedro Porro both arriving on loan. Now, they could revive their move for the Ivory Coast midfielder depending on which manager is appointed by chairman Daniel Levy this summer.
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The report adds that Barca have ‘always made it clear’ that there will be no unwanted sale unless one of their players asks to leave. Torres and Fati have been used only a bit-part basis and may welcome the chance for a new challenge, particularly with Arsenal able to offer Champions League football.
Barca are now ‘free to listen to offers’ and that could encourage either Arsenal or Spurs to make a first bid to test their resolve. Kessie only joined the Catalan giants on a free transfer from AC Milan last summer, but the tireless midfielder has found himself limited to first-team opportunities with the emergence of Gavi playing alongside Frenkie de Jong and Sergio Busquets.
Likewise, Aston Villa could challenge for Torres’ signature just 18 months after he joined the club in a £55m deal from Mancnhester City. Aston Villa are hoping to bring the forward over in a double deal, with Mateu Alemany poised to be appointed as sporting director this summer and work with Unai Emery, and his last move could be kicking off this Catalonia firesale.
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