Barcelona look set to lose Ousmane Dembele to PSG after the Frenchman agreed a deal to join the French champions.
The loss of a key player, and one that Xavi has so publicly backed, will be a blow and brings up the question of how he will be replaced in the starting XI?
Xavi reportedly wants a replacement even though he does have options without Dembele. It’s also not clear yet how much Barca will have to spend if Dembele moves to PSG.
With that in mind, let’s look at which players currently in the squad could benefit from Dembele’s exit.
The most obvious replacement is Raphinha. The Brazilian has made it crystal clear he prefers to play on the right and finished his debut campaign with 10 goals and 12 assists.
Raphinha’s debut campaign was a tad inconsistent but the stats show he was one of Barca’s most effective attackers last season and he’ll be hoping to build on that in the new campaign.
Ferran Torres is another option for Xavi. We all know that the Spain international has struggled at Barcelona but he has insisted he’s determined to prove himself next season.
The forward will surely be well aware that patience is running thin with him at Barcelona, and he has been on the scoresheet in pre-season, scoring twice already ahead of the AC Milan clash.
There’s been speculation Torres could even be used at No. 9 as well next season, as a back-up to Robert Lewandowski, meaning if he can hit form he could see plenty of game time.
Ansu Fati or Ez Abde?
Ansu Fati and Ez Abde are also potential options for Xavi, even though both players look more comfortable on the opposite flank.
This could be a crucial campaign for both of the youngsters. Fati was heavily linked with a move away earlier this summer but made it clear he wants to stay and try and find his best form.
Meanwhile, Abde has returned to Barca after an impressive loan spell at Osasuna and has also attracted interest.
Yet if Xavi is willing to give Abde a chance, he could well provide Barca with the speed on the ball and desire to run at defenders that Dembele has previously provided.
What about Lamine Yamal?
We already know Barcelona’s plans for Lamine Yamal. Xavi has said he wants the teenager between Barca Atletico and the first team next season, meaning he should get chances to impress.
Yamal has already indicated his preferred position is on the right flank which means he may well also benefit from Dembele’s departure. The 16-year-old may not be ready to be a regular starter just yet, but there may be more chances without the Frenchman around.
Another possible, and very exciting option, would be for Barcelona to bring forward the arrival of Vitor Roque.
The club have announced a deal has been agreed for Vitor Roque to arrive next summer, but the rumor mill is already buzzing with suggestions Barca will now try to bring forward his move.
It’s not clear if Barca have any chance of landing the teenager a year earlier, but there’s no doubt he’s been in great form and would be a very exciting addition to the squad.