Barcelona are planning for as many as seven exits including Manchester United and Chelsea target Frenkie de Jong, according to reports. Xavi’s side were beaten 3-0 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday night, with a place in the Europa League now beckoning. And with the La Liga giants needing to balance their finances, it seems as though an exodus could take place this winter.
Barcelona had gone into their match with Bayern knowing they had already been consigned to playing in the Europa League.
And things got worse for Xavi’s side on a chastening night at the Nou Camp, with goals from Sadio Mane, Eric Choupo-Moting and Benjamin Pavard giving Julian Nagelsmann’s side all three points.
It was a shambolic evening for Barcelona, who didn’t imagine suffering such an early exit when they splashed the cash so lavishly back in the summer.
Now, according to Sport, the Catalan titans are planning as many as seven exits this winter as they look to balance their finances and overhaul their squad.
One player who will be allowed to go is De Jong, who was linked with Manchester United and Chelsea back in the summer.
United agreed a fee with Barcelona for the Netherlands international, believed to be worth an overall £72million, only to switch their focus to Casemiro when it was clear De Jong wasn’t interested in coming.
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With the player potentially being available in January, however, United and Chelsea may now capitalise on his situation.
Barcelona know they could potentially bank a big fee for the midfielder, who has blown hot and cold ever since his arrival from Ajax back in 2019.
So it seems as though De Jong’s days at the club are numbered, especially given how he’s struggled for regular action this term.
Barcelona are ready to offload Memphis Depay, with injuries hampering him this term, while veterans Jordi Alba and Gerard Pique have also been deemed surplus to requirements.
Sergio Busquets is primed to leave for free at the end of the season, having spent his whole career at the club so far.
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And young duo Pablo Torre and Inaki Pena could leave on loan, with Barcelona preferring the duo to spend more time in La Liga so they can grow accustomed to regular first-team football.
It looks set to be a winter of change in Catalonia.
And Xavi is aware results must improve if he’s to remain Barcelona manager, particularly given how much backing he received back in the summer.
While Xavi has been criticised for his struggles in the Barcelona dugout, however, Thierry Henry feels the club would have erupted ‘like a volcano’ without his former team-mate at the helm.
“Look at the end of the day results matter, we’ve seen it with Steven Gerrard,” he said.
“The problem at Barcelona is that you don’t have time.
“But yeah, let me tell you if it was another coach right now at Barcelona, dealing with what’s happening, it would have been a volcano even more than what it is… the volcano would have erupted. But because it’s Xavi, it’s kind of okay.”
And he added: “They are second in the league. We all know [Robert] Lewandowski should have scored at Bayern but it’s not his [Xavi] fault that Lewandowski missed three chances and it’s not his fault if they didn’t call the penalty on [Denzel] Dumfries, but you’re the coach at Barcelona and you’re going to be judged.
“Barca have gambled on the Champions League and they need that money because of what they did in the summer.”
Xavi himself, meanwhile, addressed the defeat to Bayern by saying: “Today we have not reached their level, they have been better.
“In Munich it was us, but today they have been better, more intense.
“The elimination affected us psychologically.
“Tomorrow, we train and think about La Liga.
“There were high expectations, we had a difficult group.
“Everything possible happened to us. It has been very cruel. We didn’t compete well today.”