Barcelona are third in the La Liga table after 23 games, 10 points behind league leaders Real Madrid. Xavi’s team next face Celta Vigo in the league on Saturday (February 17).
Meanwhile, Lionel Messi was close to rejoining the Catalans last summer, according La Liga president Javier Tebas. Elsewhere, the Spanish champions have suffered a blow in their plans to sign Dion Lopy this summer.
On that note, let’s take a look at the major Barcelona transfer stories from February 13, 2024.
Lionel Messi wanted Barcelona return, says Javier Tebas
Lionel Messi was close to a return to Barcelona last summer, according to Javier Tebas. The eight-time Ballon d’Or winner reached the end of his contract with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) last year. There was speculation regarding a reunion at Camp Nou but the Argentinean ultimately went on to join MLS side Inter Miami.
Speaking on Kick, Tebas insisted that Lionel Messi wanted to retire with the Catalans.
“Personally, because of Messi’s and Barca’s desire, I saw it as close. When there is that affection, many economic issues are left aside. I saw it as possible. I saw it as close. I am sure that Messi would have liked to retire at Barca,” said Tebas.
The Argentine is arguably the greatest player in Barcelona’s history, and has 672 goals and 303 assists to his name from 778 games for the Catalans.
Catalans suffer Dion Lopy blow
Barcelona have suffered a setback in their plans to sign Dion Lopy this summer. According to Mundo Deportivo, Almeria are likely to demand €40m to part ways with their prized asset.
The Catalans are in the market for midfield reinforcements and want a successor for Sergio Busquets this year. Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi is their preferred choice for the role, but he is expected to cost €60m.
Given their poor finances, understandably, the Spanish champions are exploring alternate avenues and have found their man in Lopy. The Senegalese midfielder has been very impressive at the Power Horse Stadium this season, registering 23 appearances across competitions. However, La Union will only let the 22-year-old leave this summer for a decent fee, which could rule Barca out of the race.
Paulo Fonseca unlikely to take charge at Camp Nou, says journalist
Barcelona are unlikely to find Xavi’s successor in Ligue 1, according to transfer insider Jonathan Johnson. The Catalans are looking for a new manager following the Spaniard’s decision to stand down from his position at the end of the season. The club have struggled to impress this season under Xavi and are already lagging behind in the La Liga title race.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who is set to leave the Reds this summer, is an option for the role. Former Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick is also reortedly in the running for the job. Thiago Motta and Rafael Marquez are other names linked to the hot seat at Camp Nou.
In his column for Caught Offside, Johnson pointed out that Lille’s Paulo Fonseca could be an outside choice for the job.
“We know Liverpool and Barcelona are going to be on the lookout for new managers at the end of this coming season, and while I’d love to say there’s someone managing in Ligue 1 who could be in the conversation for either of those clubs, my honest opinion is that there’s not currently anyone in the French top flight who could step in to either role,” wrote Johnson.
“If I was to pick anybody from Ligue 1 as a bit of an outsider who might be worth considering I might be tempted to go for Lille’s Paulo Fonseca because of the experience he’s had at some big clubs. He’s done decent work with Lille since coming in, but even then I still think it would be quite a leap for him to go to a Liverpool or a Barcelona, with all due respect.”
The Spanish champions have already bowed out of the Copa Del Rey, and lost to Real Madrid in the Supercopa de Espana final last month.