A move to MLS side New York City FC is reportedly back on for Barcelona legend Xavi, after a potential transfer to Qatar-based Al-Arabi broke down.
A one-club man, Xavi has made 723 appearances for the Catalan side since his debut in 1998, having come through the famous La Masia youth system, winning seven La Liga titles, three Champions League winner’s medals, two Spanish Cups and two Club World Cups during that time.
The 33-year-old seems set to be the latest player to leave the club this summer, however, joining Victor Valdes, Carles Puyol and Cesc Fabregas on their way out, as new coach Luis Enrique continues to remodel the squad.
Having been officially announced as the league’s 20th franchise in May last year, NYCFC are set for their inaugural MLS season in 2015, alongside fellow expansion outfit Orlando City FC, who have just added Brazil and AC Milan star Kaka for their top-flight debut.
A joint venture between Manchester City and MLB’s New York Yankees, who together paid a reported $100 million for the team’s expansion rights, NYCFC’s Barca connection can be traced to their parent club’s director of football, Txiki Begiristain, with the US outfit’s CEO, Ferran Soriano, also the ex-general manager of the Spanish giants.
With Xavi having previously been linked to the club in January, NYCFC have recently added former club and international teammate David Villa as their first-ever signing, and reports are that Frank Lampard could be the next to join, following his departure from Chelsea this summer.
Villa is already set for a six-month loan to Australian A-League side Melbourne City FC, another of Manchester City’s associate clubs, before returning in January for preseason training, and it’s possible that Xavi and Lampard could do the same should both sign this summer.
All three would certainly give NYCFC an extremely formidable core to begin life in MLS with, while also helping to further boost the league’s footprint, at a time when the game’s profile in the States is at an all-time high.