Barcelona manager Xavi keen on ’20-30m’ international who has history with Real Madrid

Barcelona are some way off spending tens of millions on extra depth, but that will not stop the Blaugrana identifying potential targets in the event they can do so in the near future.

It has been no secret that in addition to a deeper midfielder in order to start moves, Xavi Hernandez was also keen on another player that can play the final pass. Tottenham Hotspur’s Giovani Lo Celso has been linked with them of late, but Villarreal playmaker Alex Baena is also to his liking.

The 22-year-old recently made his debut for Spain, scoring against Cyprus, and has been at the heart of Villarreal’s creative endeavours for the past year. Blessed with technique, capable of beating his man, and also the owner of a fierce shot, Baena has been in action as a central midfielder, a number 10 and a left-sided midfielder during the past year, something that also endears him to Xavi. As will the fact that he is a Barcelona fan, which could help any negotiations.

According to Que t’hi Jugues, via Sport, he has a contract until 2028, but would be available for €20-30m, despite the fact he has a deal until 2028. That was signed earlier this year, and his release clause is currently at €60m. It would be a surprise if the Yellow Submarine let Baena go for half of that, given his trajectory and the fact that Villarreal have proven they are tough negotiators.

Baena is already unpopular with Real Madrid fans, after an incident with Fede Valverde. It was leaked by Real Madrid sources that Baena had insulted Valverde’s family, and after a match at the Santiago Bernabeu, Valverde allegedly hit Baena. The assault case did not go anywhere after the judge ruled there were inconsistencies in the evidence given..



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