FC Barcelona are on the lookout for possible Xavi replacements amid reports of a New York Red Bulls offer, with Roma midfielder Miralem Pjanic entering contention - in addition to links over Ilkay Gundogan.
The potential gap left behind by the World Cup winner when he finally calls a day on his Barcelona career will be a huge void left to fill, yet reports in Italy and Spain suggest that Roma’s Bosnian midfielder Miralem Pjanic is being targeted as a potential replacement.
The 23-year-old Bosnian international has been linked to Manchester United following a blistering campaign for the previously unbeaten Roma side. Starting 17 Serie A games, Pjanic has scored three goals and assisted a further four – forming a fantastic midfield relationship with Daniele De Rossi and Kevin Strootman
As good as Pjanic’s attacking forays have been, Xavi’s role at Barcelona is more along the lines of the composer. Dictating the play, controlling possession and setting the tempo – knowing when to counter at blistering pace. The good news for Barcelona is that the current Roma star has also shown glimpses of that side of his game, averaging 62.4 passes per game with a success rate of 87.7%.
Miralem Pjanic arrived in the Italian capital in 2011, signing a four-year deal after Roma had agreed an €11m fee with French club Lyon. Nevertheless, following Roma’s recent signing of Belgian midfielder Radja Nainggolan, the deal could facilitate the potential €25m transfer offer.
Another club who were rumoured to be leading the race for the Bosnian is Premier League champions Manchester United. The Red Devils have been linked to a host of top midfielders in recent weeks such as Marchisio, Koke, Ilkay Gundogan and Roma’s other midfield star Daniele De Rossi.
The Independent even reported that Manchester United had made an offer for the Bosnian, yet it was declined. If David Moyes is serious about getting his reported target, then he will have to do everything possible to get the deal done as Barcelona is a lure too difficult to turn down for the majority of the world’s leading stars.
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