Football

Arsenal must take chance to beat Manchester United to Xavi

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Reports emerged yesterday claiming that Barcelona have offered Premier League clubs the chance to sign their midfield linchpin Xavi Hernandez.

It was believed that if Xavi, who still has two years left on his Barcelona contract, was to leave the Nou Camp this summer it would be to the MLS, where ageing pros can reinvigorate their careers with the slow paced American game.

However, it seems that the Spanish international is ready to test himself in one of the fastest, most physical leagues on the planet and is looking for a top Premier League club to provide a retirement home.

So what are the Premier League clubs waiting for? Apparently Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal have all been made aware of Xavi's availability but are yet to make an official approach.

That's because there are two sticking points: He's 34 and he is demanding £150,000-a-week in wages. It's a fair price for a man who has won three Champions League titles, one World Cup and two European Championships. It is also probably the wage he can expect if he moves across the pond to the USA.

However, budgets in the Premier League are tight. It is growing increasingly clear that Uefa mean business with regards to their Financial Fair Play regulations and clubs are struggling to cut their budgets.

It seems that a 34-year-old veteran at £9m-a-year would represent somewhat of a luxury, but for Arsenal, it is an opportunity they must take.

Arsene Wenger's hard work over the years has left Arsenal in a strong position this summer with plenty of extra cash to spend in the transfer market and wages. Some sources believe Arsenal will have as much as £100m to spend on both transfers and wages, giving him plenty of funds to add Xavi to the team.

The Daily Star claims Xavi fancies a move to the Emirates Stadium. They play the same fluid football he is used to and also have Champions League football in the bag for next season - if they win their play-off.

That gives them a massive advantage over Manchester United, who are also believed to be mulling over a move for the Barcelona veteran. Louis van Gaal has been challenged with the task of getting United back to the top of the table immediately and he will be looking for experience to achieve that. Xavi is the epitome of experience and I'd expect Van Gaal to seriously consider blowing some of his budget bringing in Xavi to Old Trafford on a short-term contract.

But if Xavi wants Arsenal, Arsenal should want Xavi. Not only is he a big name - shirt sales alone would generate millions of pounds - but he also still has the quality to add to Wenger's squad.

While Barcelona have struggled, Xavi has been knocking the ball about the park with relative ease, competing 93% of his 88.4 passes per game. At the highest level - the Champions League - he has performed even better. 107.2 passes a game and a 95.2% success rate is still an unbelievable statistic for a player of any age.

Experience in the midfield would have helped Arsenal this season as they struggled to cope with an injury crisis. Mikel Arteta was also a notable struggler after being heavily relied upon to cover for Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere. He has the winner's mentality Arsenal really need to get back to the top of the division and would prove a source of inspiration in the dressing room.

It may not be the big money signing fans are hoping for, but what Arsenal really need now is to get used to winning trophies again and make sure their fledgling stars Ramsey and Wilshere have the correct guidance to the top.

There is no better guidance than from someone who has won everything worth winning in Spanish and international football. As previously said: If Xavi wants Arsenal, Arsenal should want Xavi. 

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Topics:
Arsenal
Barcelona
Football
Manchester United
Premier League

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