Barcelona fans and administration have, for the longest time, considered Sergio Busquets irreplaceable. Due to his unique skill set, technical prowess, and frankly bizarre awareness, he is often considered the best defensive midfielder of all time.
However, at 33, Busquets is at the last juncture of his career. His Barcelona contract runs till 2023, and while he will almost definitely stay at the club next year, there is a strong possibility that it will be his last season at the Camp Nou.
According to SPORT, Barcelona are working hard to find long-term replacements for the Spanish midfielder, and have three players on their radar:
Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi, AS Monaco’s Aurelien Tchouameni, and Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Ruben Neves.
The report states that Zubimendi is the player Barcelona likes the most and considers the most similar to Busquets. At 23, he is an undisputed starter at Sociedad, and an integral part in the recent rise to European places in the league.
A move for him will, however, be very difficult. The Spaniard has a €60 million buy-out clause in his contract that runs till 2025. La Real will probably not accept anything less for him this summer.
Arguably the biggest midfield talent in Europe, right now, along with the likes of Pedri and Jude Bellingham, Tchouameni is on the radar of several top clubs, including PSG and Liverpool. Unsurprisingly, it seems Real Madrid are leading the race for his signature.
A move away from Monaco looks inevitable this summer, but it will not be cheap. SPORT says that he could cost up to €60 million, but reports in the past have quoted his asking price to be nearer to the €70 million mark.
The final name on their agenda is Neves, who is looking to leave Wolves at the end of this campaign. After failing to find consistency in the Premier League previously, the Portuguese has been brilliant all season under Bruno Lage this time around.
He is the oldest of the three players, but is bound to cost nearly the same amount – €60 million. Barcelona do have a headstart in his pursuit, though, given that his agent – Jorge Mendes – is on excellent terms with the club administration.