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Report: Barcelona coach Luis Enrique asks for Atlético Madrid star

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

With the now certain departure of Xavi Hernández, Barcelona needs a new centerpiece at center-field. And coach Luis Enrique knows exactly who that guy is going to be.

Forget Paul Pogba, who is more of a dream than anything. With so many candidates to land the French Phenom, it is dificult for Barça to get the 21-year-old Juventus star, especially with the transfer ban that makes it more difficult for the Blaugrana to attract market darlings this year.

The alternative to Pogba is not bad, though. Diario Sport is reporting that Barça manager Luis Enrique has specifically asked for Koke Resurrección, the 23-year-old Atlético Madrid midfielder. Koke was a target for last summer, but the negotiations never advanced once Barça signed Ivan Rakitic, their favorite transfer target. The Blaugrana at the time offered €60 million to take Koke away from Vicente Calderón, but the player himself decided to stick around at Atleti for one more season.

Now, the situation is different. Atlético has been eliminated from contention in the Copa del Rey by Barça, and the La Liga repeat seems unlikely this season. The Colchoneros also have a difficult opponent in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal, as they face the defending champions, Real Madrid. If Atlético ends up trophy-less this season, we might see a change of scenery for the team's most important players, including Koke.

Koke would be the perfect replacement to Xavi. He has anything you could ask for a Blaugrana mid: he's young, has amazing awareness, world-class passing skills and a reliable, injury-free history. Basically, you can count on Koke to deliver in every match. He's already playing the Xavi role on the Spanish national team, and his performances have been impressive.

Sources say that Barcelona is one of Koke's favorite destinations, and he'd sign for Barça in a heartbeat. If that's true, we can forget Pogba and focus on the New Xavi.

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