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Are we witnessing the beginning of the end for Sergio Busquets at Barcelona?

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The midfielder is no longer indispensable

FC Barcelona v Inter: Group F - UEFA Champions League Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

It’s a fact of life that time waits for no man, and, as unpalatable a thought as it may be, in a few short years time, Barca will be bereft of those players who’ve seen the club through its most glorious period to date.

Messi, Pique, Alba... they’ll all be following the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta out of the Camp Nou exit door.

As will Sergio Busquets.

The midfielder’s time with Barca, though clearly not at an end just yet, may be hastened by the emergence of Arthur Melo and Frenkie de Jong as a real pairing of note. Not forgetting the dynamism that Arturo Vidal is bringing to that area of the pitch at present.

We’ve already seen in the recent past that the team are not as reliant on the 31-year-old as they once were, and without wishing to be overly critical, because Busi doesn’t deserve that, his level has dropped.

Caught in possession more often than at any other point in his career, his decision making has been a little off too.

If the club truly still want to be dining at Europe’s top table, and believe they will do so again, then there has to be an acceptance that tough decisions will need to be made sooner or later.

With Busquets in situ, and Arthur pretty much a fixture now, it means that Frenkie has to be accommodated out of position.

When the Dutchman is in his more natural role, he’s able to affect the game much more, but this generally requires Busquets to be subbed - or not to start a match.

I’d be surprised in any event if he isn’t rotated along with the other elder statesmen in the team, for ‘dead rubber’ Champions League matches and/or the early rounds of the Copa del Rey.

The big questions will be being asked when it comes to matches against more high-profile opposition.

As a supposedly progressive organisation the Blaugranes need to go with the men in form, and if that means benching one of the club’s greatest ever midfielders, so be it.

It’s doubtful that Busquets will be happy with such a scenario because every player wants to play all of the time, but in the medium to longer term, some extended rest might actually prolong his club career.

Having professed his love for the club on many occasions, he (and the other big names) would do well to accept decisions that are based on progression over keeping the dressing room equilibrium on an even keel.