Tactical Insights

Barcelona coach wants defensive star to return to his old position next season – report

Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez has taken responsibility for the team’s defensive woes this season, pointing to the lack of a natural defensive midfielder as a key factor.

In fact, defensive frailties have been a major concern for Barcelona in the 2023/24 campaign. Xavi readily admits the team missed the irreplaceable Sergio Busquets, who departed for Inter Miami last summer.

The club’s initial attempts to replace Busquets – targeting Zubimendi and Kimmich – were thwarted by financial constraints and fair play regulations. Oriol Romeu, signed from Girona, was ultimately seen as the most viable option.

However, Romeu’s early promise faded due to injuries and inconsistency. Xavi then experimented with Frenkie de Jong and İlkay Gundogan in the defensive midfield role, but this choice often backfired.

Christensen, a natural centre-back, was deployed as a defensive midfielder due to the squad’s limitations. While Barcelona’s performance improved under this arrangement, it left the backline vulnerable.

What will be Christensen’s role at Barcelona next season? (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Xavi wants Christensen back in his old position

Keeping that in mind, Diario SPORT suggests Xavi wants Christensen to return to his old position next season.

This comes despite the fact that Barça have performed significantly poorly without the services of the Danish international in the number six slot.

While Christensen filled the gap in the number six position quite admirably, Xavi views him as a long-term solution for the backline.

Xavi’s desire to have Christensen back in his old position can also be seen as a continued push for a new defensive midfielder.

Barcelona need a proven defensive midfielder to anchor the midfield and provide a platform for attacking creativity.

Names like Zubimendi and Kimmich are once again at the forefront of Barcelona’s transfer wishlist. Whether the club can secure their targets or identify a different solution remains to be seen, but Xavi has made clear his priorities for the upcoming transfer window.

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