News From Spain: Analysis: Should Liverpool’s Stefan Bajcetic be a long term option for Barcelona?

Sergio Busquets’ departure will be a big moment for Barcelona. The 34-year-old has been a mainstay in the pivote role for much of the last 14 years, ever since he made his debut for the Blaugrana in 2009 under Pep Guardiola.

His contract runs out at the end of this season, but with Barca needing to reduce their wage bill by €200m in the summer, he could be set for a departure, despite club officials being desperate to keep him for at least one more year.

Speculation over Busquets’ potential successor has persisted for much of the last few minutes. Names such as Martinez Zubimendi, Ruben Neves and N’Golo Kante have been thrown about, while Manchester City’s Rodri has emerged as a target in recent days.

Ilkay Gundogan appears to be closing in on a move to Barcelona for next season, with his Man City contract expiring in June. Pep Guardiola appeared to open the door for the German international’s exit, and with Barcelona’s financial issues, he could be a short term option as a Busquets replacement.

All signs point towards a short term solution to their pivote problem, whether that be Busquets staying or Gundogan joining. As such, a long term option could emerge for a future transfer, and Fichajes report that one player that could be is Liverpool’s Stefan Bajcetic.

18-year-old Bajcetic joined the Premier League giants from Celta Vigo in 2020, and has been a revelation this year since establishing himself in the first team fold at Anfield. He can play as a pivote, although he has featured as more of an interior in recent weeks, including against Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Despite Liverpool conceding five goals, Bajcetic held his own against the reigning European champions, and produced another impressive performance. He is playing well beyond his years, and is someone that would be a valuable asset to the Barcelona squad.

Despite the result, #LFC’s Stefan Bajcetic produced another impressive display against Real Madrid.

50 passes completed (77% accuracy)8 accurate long balls2 tackles won2 recoveries5/7 ground duels won

— Football España (@footballespana_) February 21, 2023

For the first few seasons of his professional career, a pivote role in the highest level of football could be premature, especially playing as a single pivot like he would be at Barcelona. If would be worth letting him develop at Liverpool for another two or three years before a move should be considered.

Although, as a squad player Bajcetic would certainly fit in the Blaugrana squad now, and he could occasionally play as a pivote against lesser opposition or in the Copa del Rey.

Ultimately, a move for Bajcetic would be a very good idea for Barcelona. However, it is highly unlikely due to the finances that would be involved, as Liverpool value the teenager very highly, and Barca would probably be unable to match their valuation.

However, further down the line, when Barcelona sort out their money woes, Bajcetic could very well be a realistic target. Nevertheless, for La Roja, the youngster is very exciting, and will likely be part of the national team for years to come.