Barcelona’s search for the new number 5 begins

Zubimendi facing Barcelona in the 22/23 LaLiga season / MARTIN ZUBIMENDI ON INSTAGRAM

With club legend, Sergio Busquets set to leave Barcelona at the end of the season, new options in the midfield have emerged.

According to Xavi, “Barcelona is the hardest club to manage in the world”. The Cules are always expecting to win and have the best possible players in their squad. Now that Busquets will leave a big hole in the midfield, who will fill that position? Fortunately for all the Barça fans, the club has multiple targets for this summer. According to Jijantes FC, the list contains a great variety of players with unique abilities to strengthen the midfield:

  • Soyfan Amrabat – Fiorentina
  • Martín Zubimendi – Real Sociedad
  • Orio Romeu – Girona
  • Rúben Neves – Wolves
  • Guido Rodríguez – Real Betis
  • Arthur Vermeeren – Royal Antwerp
Soyfan Amrabat

Heading the list are possibly the two best suited players to fill the no. 5 role. On the one hand we have Amrabat, a 26 year old Moroccan player that jumped into the spotlight in the 2022 World Cup. He currently plays for Serie A side, ACF Fiorentina where he shines as a physical box-to-box player. Even though, he excels due to his prowess and forward runs, Amrabat is still prone to committing mistakes, which in occasions are very costly.

In comparison with other players in the above mentioned list, the Moroccan may be one of the “cheap” options heading into this transfer window. Per Transfermarkt, his current market value is around 25 million euros with one year left on his current contract.

Martín Zubimendi

According to multiple reports, the player from Anoeta is Xavi’s personal favorite to substitute Busquets. The 24 year old Spanish player at the moment is playing for Real Sociedad and has been a key part of their success this season. Moreover, he became the player in charge of providing defensive stability to the midfield. As a result, Zubimendi secured his spot in the starting eleven this season.

La Real are currently sitting 4th in LaLiga and have almost guaranteed a UEFA Champions League spot for next season. Due to this, Zubimendi is not looking to change clubs as he wants to play UCL with his boyhood club. Additionally, if Barça want to secure his services they will have to pay the hefty fee of 60 million euros. The exact fee is on account of his current release clause per his contract. These two main obstacles are why many believe that his transfer to the Blaugranas seems rather impossible.

Oriol Romeu

The 31 year old no. 5 from Girona surprised many when he became linked with Barça as a possible transfer. The Terragona native, was part of La Masia and regarded as a very talented player. Romeu debuted under Pep Guardiola and had good performances. Nevertheless, with the arrival of Mascherano, his chances were greatly reduced.

Currently, he is thought as a low cost and risk transfer as he knows the style of play that Xavi would demand of him. Furthermore, in accordance with information from Transfermarkt, his market value is around 5 million euros. He could be a good back-up plan for Barcelona in case the top priorities fall through.

Rúben Neves

The 26 year old Wolverhampton midfielder is another interesting option for Barça this summer. Neves has been a crucial player for the English side for many years, scoring and assisting in crucial matches. However, it seems as if his time in England is coming to an end. Jorge Mendes (who represents both Neves and Ansu Fati) has been pushing for his move to the Camp Nou. Per various reports, Barcelona would be open to include the young Spanish player in the transfer to secure the deal. On paper, the Portuguese player is not the type of no. 5 player Barcelona is looking for. Nevertheless, he is a talented and very physical player to have in the midfield.

Neves is currently heading into his final year of contract and according to Transfermarkt his value is approximately 40 million euros with just one more year on his contract.

Finally, two more names are being thrown into the mix, Guido Rodríguez and Arthur Vermeeren. The former is World Cup winner with Argentina that currently plays for Betis in Spain. He is thought of as a typical no. 5 with good vision and dribbling skills. Although, he is familiar with LaLiga, he would still be a rather high risk signing as he has never played in a club like Barcelona. Vermeeren is an exciting prospect from Royal Antwerp in the Belgian league. He is just 18 years old but thought of as one of the best midfield talents in Europe. Per Transfermarkt, his market value is 8.5 million euros but would also be considered a high risk transfer for such a young player.

Hopefully for Barcelona can make the best possible decision regarding such a crucial position for the team. Luckily, Mateu Alemany and Xavi seem to know what the club needs.