Xavi Hernandez is set to be appointed the new manager of Barcelona following the dismissal of Ronald Koeman and the Spaniard already has his eye on two new signings, according to reports.
Under-pressure boss Koeman was finally relieved of his duties on Wednesday night after another disappointing performance, this time losing 1-0 against Rayo Vallecano thanks to a solitary goal from the evergreen Radamel Falcao.
The defeat left Barca in ninth place in the Liga table after 10 games, with the Catalan side already six points adrift of league leaders Real Madrid.
According to widespread reports in Spain, Xavi is Barcelona’s top pick to succeed Koeman and has already been offered the job.
The 41-year-old had been in contact with president Joan Laporta prior to Koeman’s dismissal as the Catalan giants weighed up their options and Barca will now trigger a release clause in his contract with current club Al Sadd.
There is still some paperwork to complete and Xavi’s return to Camp Nou may not be made official until Friday, but the former midfielder is already thinking about how he can improve the squad.
Top of his agenda, according to Spanish journalist Gerard Romero, is a return to the 4-3-3 system that was used to such great success when Xavi was a player at the club under Pep Guardiola.
But in order to do that, he feels the side needs some new signings and has earmarked Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling – who has fallen out of favour at the Etihad – as a potential recruit.
Barca have previously been linked with a January loan move for the winger, though City are unlikely to accept that, while the player himself has opened the door to a move and suggested he would be keen to test himself outside the Premier League.
On the opposite flank, Xavi has full confidence in Ousmane Dembele and is hoping to tie down the Frenchman to a new contract, with his current deal expiring next summer.
Barcelona have also been blighted by some horrendous displays at the back and Xavi has earmarked Sevilla defender and long-time Chelsea target Jules Kounde as the solution to the club’s defensive woes.
The 22-year-old came close to joining the Blues over the summer, though their offers fell short of Sevilla’s valuation, and Chelsea are expected to renew their attempts to sign the Frenchman in January.
They may now have competition from Barcelona, though it remains to be seen what level of spending power the Catalan club actually have with the side struggling financially, while they were largely restricted to bargains and free transfers in the summer window just gone.