FC Barcelona has a rather special history and connection with their pivot position. Previously, it was largely dominated by the presence of Sergio Busquets. The Spanish legend played a pivotal role, enabling Barcelona to thrive during their golden age for an extended period.
While other names like Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, and Xavi alongside others managed to get most of the spotlight, Busquets was an equally important part of the team. Hence, his departure required a player of equal substance.
In other words, it is almost impossible to find a direct equal for Busquets. However, for Xavi Hernandez, the closest thing achievable was Martin Zubimendi. For this exact reason, Barcelona pursued his signature in the summer.
However, as SPORT reports, there were two main obstacles hindering Barça. First was the €60 million release clause that proved to be too expensive for Barcelona. Secondly, the player did not seem to have a desire to move away from La Real until he played with them in the Champions League.
However, it seems that the 24-year-old has managed to do much more than that. Already in the Champions League, he has helped La Real qualify for the Round of 16. Moreover, he has been playing arguably his best season yet for Sociedad, as SPORT reports.
Not exactly the most flamboyant of players, even his simplicity has been priceless. Controlling games better, showcasing a much more effective passing range, winning aerial duels and even contributing more to the attack, Zubimendi has developed into an even more complete player.
From within Sociedad, they believe that several factors made this possible. The most prominent one remains his inclusion and faith in the Spanish National setup. With the aid of Luis de la Fuente in the senior side as well as his former incorporation in the Under-21s, Zubimendi has understood his real potential.
For this reason, Xavi’s words remain intact. In their quest to find a capable pivot, arguably no name is more deserving than Zubimendi’s. Even in the upcoming summer of 2024, the Spaniard remains a great desire for Xavi and Barcelona remain interested.