Should Barcelona Cash in on Xavi Hernandez Whilst They Have the Chance?

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Should Barcelona Cash in on Xavi Hernandez Whilst They Have the Chance?
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The thought of a Barcelona side without Xavi Hernandez running the midfield isn't something too many fans would want to consider.

The best midfielder of his generation, perhaps ever, has been synonymous with every Barca success over the last decade, and the removal of his genius from first-team duties will change the face of Barca's play forever.

As unpalatable a thought as it is, Luis Enrique would be foolish if he didn't at least consider it.

Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Barca's style could change immeasurably with the sale of Xavi Hernandez.

Indeed, Paul Hetherington of the Daily Star notes that Xavi is "being offered" to clubs in the Premier League, so perhaps Enrique has already sized up the situation and made his position clear.

Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal are all allegedly interested in his services, so now might well be a good time to cash in.

At 34 years of age, Xavi isn't getting any younger, and whilst his passing stats, via WhoScored.com, still make astonishing reading, it's debatable that he is as incisive as he once was. 

Just 26 La Liga appearances made during last season, and only two assists in that time, tells its own story. Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets all played a more pivotal role than Xavi

Pass and move is all very well and looks pretty, but an end product is required. Too many times during the last season, Barca were "tiki-taka-tastic" without getting the points on the board which would have won them the La Liga title and perhaps more.

Offensively during a lot of games, Barca were impotent, and whilst not solely Xavi's fault, of course, a sharper, quicker individual might have provided the key that unlocked the opposition defences.

Someone like Rafinha Alcantara perhaps.

Enrique knows all about the player's attributes, having overseen a wonderful season at Celta Vigo, and although his passing range is nothing like his contemporary's, his dynamic work ethic and incisive bursts mark him out as a different type but no less effective midfielder.

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Other names have been mentioned in dispatches. Back in March, Sport, via Alex Martin of Give Me Sport, had noted that Barcelona's representatives had been in contact with their counterparts at Juventus for the £50 million sale of Arturo Vidal.

Vidal is another in the mould of a complete box-to-box type midfielder, rather than the probing, more considered approach of Hernandez.

Whilst his contributions can never be sullied, Xavi could be in danger of outstaying his welcome. Like the boxers that need to go just "one more round."  Mark Doyle of Goal.com noted his words in an interview with So Foot

I am physically well. I feel even better than the previous two seasons.

Honestly, this is the first time in my career that I have felt so good. I'm more mature and much better physically.

Clearly Xavi still therefore believes he has much to offer at the very highest level, and the first real test of Lucho's managerial reign will be to decide exactly how much of a role—or not—he will play at Barca.

Any (substantial) transfer monies would be likely to be reinvested in the playing squad, so does he stick with the trusty reliable model or part exchange for the newer, quicker and more mobile one with more horses under the bonnet?

Decisions, decisions...

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