Barcelona’s inability to invest in Sergio Busquets’ understudy years ago, due to financial complications and poor foresight, culminated in a stark reality check this season.
Despite having acquired a low-cost option in Oriol Romeu this summer, replacing the legendary Busquets was never going to be achieved by opting for half-measures.
And the result of ignoring the defensive midfield position has been evident in Barça’s shortcomings this season.
However, aiming to finally address the elephant in the room, TV3 argues (h/t FCB World) that sporting director Deco has shortlisted candidates who will be free agents in the next summer transfer window to help mitigate the troubles residing at the base of midfield.
The La Masia graduate is past his peak years but appeals as another short-term fix as Barcelona continues to recover their frail financial state.
The 32-year-old practices his craft as a central midfielder at Liverpool, where he has often been subject to large spells of absence due to injuries.
Moreover, Thiago has often been accused of not shielding his team enough in defense, especially with Liverpool practicing a high line.
Even so, the former Barcelona midfielder is well-versed in both positional play and Liverpool’s ‘heavy metal football’, which is a style Xavi leans towards more often than not.
His contract expires next year in June, which means Barcelona could pick him up for free with no financial repercussions.
Another veteran to enter the list, Jorginho is a reliable distributor of the ball with experience in the pivot position.
After a largely successful stint at Chelsea, he now plies his trade at Arsenal, albeit with a secondary role in the squad.
Jorginho shares some similarities with Busquets in the way he can anchor plays and add elements of pausa.
However, the Italian midfielder is not the most reliable out of possession, and at the age of 32, he cannot be relied upon as a long-term solution.
Rabiot’s in impressive form in Italy. (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)
Rabiot is a man accustomed to making newspaper headlines in Barcelona. Links with him have persisted for the past few years, and it appears the Catalan giants are contemplating his arrival once more.
The 28-year-old plays for Juventus in the Serie A and could lend his years of experience in the center of the park.
In 15 Serie A games this season, the French international has two goals and three assists for Juventus.
Nonetheless, even though Rabiot is no stranger to the defensive midfield position, he is attuned to playing higher up the pitch.
The Real Betis man is respected for his composure in the pivot position, but more than anything, his La Liga expertise is valued.
It is important to keep in mind that Barcelona pursued the 29-year-old World Cup champion during the summer transfer window but ultimately decided to sign Oriol Romeu.
Even though the 29-year-old does not fit the mold of a ‘high profile midfielder’ he is arguably the best fit from this list, as Rodriguez is familiar with the demands of a defensive midfield role and still has ample years ahead of him.