Tactical Insights

Barcelona considering Simons and Guido signings – sources


Barcelona are considering moves for Guido Rodríguez and Xavi Simons but the final decision on any signings cannot be made until the club know how much money they will be able to invest this summer, sources have told ESPN.

Rodríguez, 30, is off contract with Real Betis this summer and will be available as a free agent. Barça are keen to strengthen their midfield, with coach Xavi Hernández pinning this season’s struggles on a lack of balance in the middle of the pitch.

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Xavi’s priority is to add a defensive midfielder to the squad — beyond the signing of Rodríguez — and there is also interest in Bayern Munich‘s Joshua Kimmich and Real Sociedad‘s Martín Zubimendi, although both would command a significant fee. Everton midfielder Amadou Onana has also been linked.

Simons, 21, has spent this season on loan at German side RB Leipzig and is due to return to Paris Saint-Germain this summer.

However, the Dutch international — an attacking midfielder who came through Barça’s academy before moving to PSG in 2019 — could be available on loan again next season.

While free transfers and loans should be within Barça’s reach when the transfer window opens, the Catalan club are still not sure what their budget will be for incomings.

They are over €200 million ($216m) in excess of their LaLiga-imposed annual spending limit, which is currently fixed at just over €200m. That means they can only spend a percentage of what they raise in transfer fees or save in wages on bringing in new players.

Sources have told ESPN the is hope that limit will rise for next season as Barça work on various ways of raising money.

They are optimistic of reducing the wage bill, signing an improved agreement with Nike and offloading a number of players, starting with those who have been out on loan and are not part of coach Xavi’s plans.

Barça were in a similar position last summer and it meant the only player to arrive for a fee was Oriol Romeu, who joined from Girona for €3.5m ($3.7m) but he could be moved on this summer. Other players, such as Ilkay Gündogan, joined as free agents.

Vitor Roque arrived in January for an initial €31m ($33m), which could potentially rise to to €60m ($65m), but he is only registered until the end of the season due to the financial restrictions at the club and his future is the subject of much debate.

The Brazil striker has played just 13 times since joining, with his agent calling for more minutes or a permanent transfer elsewhere. With Xavi reluctant to use him, he could be one player who leaves this summer, although sources told ESPN that all major decisions have been parked until the end of the LaLiga season this month.

Barça will also listen to offers for a large part of their squad, including defender Ronald Araújo, as previously reported by ESPN, if it enables them to invest elsewhere.

Therefore, the planning for the upcoming transfer window is dependent on a number of factors and sources detail how the recruitment team — led by sporting director Deco — are preparing for various scenarios, with Rodríguez and Simons among the potentially low-cost options.



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