Farewell night at the Camp Nou. Barça will close tonight against Villarreal (10:00 p.m.) a season devoid of titles and with the minimum achievement of having secured a place in the Champions League and their presence in the Spanish Super Cup. “We have to get stronger next year because Barça cannot afford not to win titles”, declared Xavi Hernández, who has already put his plan into action.
For some, today's match will be the last with the Blaugrana shirt. Last Wednesday Xavi met with Riqui Puig, Òscar Mingueza, Martin Braithwaite and Samuel Umtiti. He individually told them that next year he does not have them. Less even than this season. They have two and a half months to find a way out. “These are tough decisions, I don't want to make them bitter. They will be happier in another place, it is the reality. They have a good predisposition. Some have surprised me, they have thanked me and they have moved me”, stated Xavi.
It could also be Ousmane Dembélé's last game, although the coach wants him to continue. The negotiations to renew him have entered the final phase and both parties have planned a meeting next week that aims to be definitive. Barça assures that Dembélé has had a firm offer on the table for a month while the player's agents consider that he can still improve.
They also insist that the Frenchman has received much more succulent economic proposals than Barcelona's. The last candidate to appear on the scene has been Bayern Munich, without forgetting that PSG has also been interested in the Frenchman for months to cover Di María's loss. The tone of Xavi and that of the Barça sports leadership has ceased to be optimistic. “It could be Dembélé's last match, yes”, admitted Xavi.
There will be more casualties. Barça will put an end to the transfers of Luuk de Jong and Adama and is open to listening to offers for Lenglet, Dest, Neto and even Frenkie de Jong. “Here we return to talk about the economic situation. For me he is a bestial player, who can mark an era. But then there is the financial situation of the club”, insisted Xavi, who does not close the door to the Dutch midfielder leaving the Camp Nou. As for the economic situation, at the moment, there has been no progress or improvement with new income.
Xavi also has his own script for signing players. “The president transmits confidence to me so that we can strengthen ourselves. We have made a sports plan and we will try to execute it, ”he said.
With two reinforcements closed (Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessié) and unable to compete in the bid for Håland or Mbappé, the coach recognized for the first time that Robert Lewandowski “is one of the possibilities. There are some negotiations involved with Bayern that will not be easy”.
Two and a half months Xavi has to outline other operations that allow him to double the positions. For this reason, he assumes that he faces his first summer as a Barça coach with hardly any rest. “My job is sometimes stressful. But I want the best for this club. This will be a fundamental market", said the man from Egar, who asked his players against Villarreal "to be brave and competitive in order to finish the season with good feelings".
For the game against the 'yellow submarine', Xavi gets back Araújo, Jordi Alba and Frenkie de Jong, who were out against Getafe due to injury and suspension respectively, but he will still be without the injured Pedri, Piqué, Sergi Roberto, Dest, Eric and Nico Gonzalez. The egarense will count, again, with Alejandro Balde and Jandro from the subsidiary, as well as with Arnau Tenas.