Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has contacted close friends of Barcelona icon Xavi in an effort to sound out the Spaniard over a potential move to Old Trafford this summer.
Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo claims that the Dutchman enquired after the 34-year-old’s services once it became apparent that he would not feature in Luis Enrique’s squad next year, as the 62-year-old feels that the playmaker still has plenty to offer at the highest level. Recent speculation has pointed towards the notion that Xavi will now head to Qatar in order to see out his playing days in an environment which promises far less pressure than the one he’s played out his whole career in, with it even being said that old Spain team-mate Raul has tried to convince him to make the switch.
VAN GAAL’S INTENTIONS
Regardless of the rumours however Mundo is clear that Van Gaal DID in fact make contact in a bid to lure Xavi to Old Trafford as he looks to improve his midfield moving forward. Since the retirement of Paul Scholes United have lacked the sort of player who can unlock defences with vision and passing ability, and the aforementioned Catalan veteran most certainly ticks both those boxes. Despite having been a bit-part player from his national team in Brazil Xavi’s experience, and the influence he can so often force upon a game, is unparalleled. Marouane Fellaini may be a good ball winner, Michael Carrick can certainly pick a pass and Tom Cleverley may have the legs to put pressure on opponents, but none of them are in same bracket.
The very same report from Spain indicates however that the veteran central midfielder would prefer to make a move to somewhere with a lesser-standard of football, as he seeks to see out the remainder of his days as a player without the mental and physical duress being an elite European footballer encompasses. Having played a colossal 723 times for Barca, as well as having amassed 133 caps at international level, few would contest his decision were he to opt for a move to the Middle East and the offer of a lucrative last contract.
If Van Gaal has indeed failed to convince Xavi of an Old Trafford switch then he will now no doubt have already turned his attentions to pursuing other options. Rumours this morning claim the Red Devils are in the process of finalising an agreement for Athletic Bilbao’s defensive anchor Ander Herrera, whilst moves for Sami Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger have both been mentioned. Other claims indicate that Van Gaal could be preparing to move Wayne Rooney back into a deeper position to allow Juan Mata to thrive in the hole behind the striker.