It’s not surprising that the biggest headache probably Xavi and the board have right now is – Who will be the successor to Sergio Busquets? And rightfully so.
Such is the importance of his profile to the system – A unique one, A tempo-controlling central defensive midfielder with the ability to thread the ball through the defense lines of the opponent, while also covering the passing lanes.
For all of the attacking verve and excellence that Barca was known for, their control of most games was not possible without Busquets’ presence at the heart of their midfield. A footballer’s brain combined with brawn if required, Busquets was the protector supreme.
It takes a very special kind of player to be able to carry out Busquets’ role. To be an expert in the defensive-midfield role, the timing of the tackle is paramount. Once successful, take, give and go—on multiple occasions in a game. Firefighting is the appropriate phrase.
Sat in the pivot position, he has the luxury of being able to cast his eyes over most of the pitch before him and assess where best to play his next pass, often well before the ball reaches him. That’s a quality that’s hard to match.
But then as in every player’s career comes a time when the two legs can’t cope with the demanding role of the position.
People who have followed Real Sociedad even briskly know that Martin Zubimendi fits the bill. He is mostly present in the ‘Barca’s CDMesque’ positions, unlike another popular option in Frenkie De Jong who likes to go forward very often.
This trait is very useful when it comes to covering the passing lanes, which is a big positive for the case of the La Real player. He has Decent passing skills, which obviously will improve when he plays in a more fluid system i.e. Barca.
Also, he is sound defensively, good at pressing, and likes to have the ball at his feet. He can’t be dispossessed so easily and good aerially, proving his fairly physical presence as well.
At just 23 years of age, he seems like a really good option for The Catalan club to replace Sergio Busquets who is nearing his exit next summer. Xavi can hopefully mold him to perfection since he definitely holds all the qualities to be Barca’s next Single Pivot.