Saturday, 11 January 2014

The Daily Football Mood: Should FC Barcelona sell Xavi this summer? The Busquets factor.

Are you out of your mind?!

This post sounds more like an episode in the Advocatus Diaboli series if anything. Yet, put the knives you brought with you to this space away. Pretend that you are really listening. Then after you finish reading, ramble across the streets with torches in hands looking to burn this writer alive. 

And just so you don't go to the wrong addresses, the writer is neither Sean Ingle nor Paul Doyle, so leave the two mortals alone! The writer here is probably one of the first Xavi fan boys, ever since he was struggling to inherit the crown left by Pep the great in Barça's operation room. Yet, it will not be the first time I -may- break up with one of my favorites

If Xavi want to stay and have no intention to leave, case closed. We don't throw one of our greats out of the window. What Xavi said many times though, is that it is tough to retire at Barça. He even hinted that it will be exciting to try somewhere else. My guess is that he has Pep's experience at FC Barcelona in mind, especially at the end of his career as a player in Blaugrana's shirt. I'll just say it wasn't a very nice experience. 

Taking all that in mind, is it time to change Xavi's status in the squad from "untransferable" to "not for sale unless"? 

He has been doing great so far this season, regardless of all the rants (mostly on twitter) that he lost it. The problems were more around Xavi than on him. Yet, the usual Xavi responsibilities are getting transmitted gradually to the brilliant gigantic talent known as Busquets. I'd say that by next season there is no doubt about who will be the General of Barça's midfiled. The brain of the team will go back from the center midfield where Xavi ruled to the deep-lying spot of Pep days. Busquets is one of very rare occasions where you have a very solid holding midfielder who can also do the playmaking as an artist. 

Pre-Busquets Era, there was no choice to make that happen, thus the existence of Xavi as a center midfielder was a strike for fortune for FC Barcelona. Edmilson and identical-s were responsible of protecting the backline, and Xavi was the one who run the show and spread the cards on players. Mind you, for all the brilliance Xavi added from such an advanced position, this situation had a drawback. The team played three in midfield, two of them are not consistent goal scorers. One as a defensive midfielder, and Xavi. This situation added massive pressure on the offense line to do all the scoring, whether the third midfielder was Iniesta (who is not a known goalscorer as well), or when the team went for a box-to-box midfielder like Keita who had to play more conservative most of the time than adventurous, again, to release some of the defensive load off Xavi's shoulder so he keep focused in what he does best: Running the show and making the team as a whole perform on an amazing level.

Moving that role (Xavi's) back to Busquets - who can certainly do it- release a spot in midfield (center midfielder) for various tactical alternatives. Now you can have a box to box midfielder who can be more adventurous, ahead of Iniesta when needed, especially if you solve the dilemma of two attacking fullbacks. A midfielder who can add the physical balance Barça lacks sometimes. The aerial presence in the two boxes in defense and offense. And the workrate and intensity throughout the season. This may also balance the doses of directness and ball circulation. And with Messi's movement between midfield and offense that we are used to already, this can create a good Busquets-Messi vertical axis in the midfield that run the engine of offense forward with no problem.

Putting the financial element aside, it is perfect to trigger such alternatives while keeping Xavi. You can never fail to find a role for this amazing brain of football and there will be moments where this guy can start -or get in from the bench- and put the opponent efficiency to sleep through his well-planned ball circulation strategic performance. 

Football-wise, we should be excited to triger the new alternative with all the dimensions it provides, while having the insurance card that never fails to impress - The Xavi.

The guy will be 34 next summer. When we discussed the possibilities of selling Keita, he was a 15-20M woth player - easily. Then, in a glance, he left for free. Xavi can have an essential role for one more year. Selling Xavi can open an opportunity to buy a Vidal who is 26 years old. A beast in the midfield. While at the same time, you will probably be able to convince -then- Pirlo to join your squad for a short-term Xavi compromise (If I am not wrong, Pirlo will be available for free next summer).

Is it better to have a Xavi for one more season, or gaining a Vidal for seven seasons (when he'll be Xavi's age now)? More triggering, is it better to have Xavi next season or both Vidal and Pirlo? Sentiments aside, what do you genuinely think?

Again, the point is not giving up on Xavi or pushing him out. Yet, if a good offer comes where Xavi feels it is exciting to consider, are we still going to shut the door without a second thought.

Rosell praised Xavi a lot recently. Mostly, he was bashing other Barça greats through Xavi than hailing the Hernandez. If we want to be evil, we can even assume that he is sending a message that "We will not give up on one of our greatest players - for cheap!" 

You can always check latest rants on @FootballMood

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