Barcelona midfielder Xavi has gone public with mounting frustration over a peripheral role under new manager Luis Enrique so far this season, with a strong statement that The Express believe could open the door to a shock short-term move to Manchester United.
Xavi turned down the chance to complete a lucrative switch to Qatar last summer in favour of staying at Barcelona, but the Spanish icon is not interested in sitting on the bench and picking up a reported pre-tax salary of €13 million-a-year (or €250,000-a-week) if he's not part of Enrique's plans.
Enrique has left the 34-year-old on the bench in all but two of Barca's first eight matches in all competitions, a decision which has angered the veteran and made him drop a huge hint that if the situation doesn't change he would prepared to reconsider his future.
Barca icon has plenty to ponder
After missing out on the starting XI in Barca's 3-2 Champions League defeat to Paris Saint-Germain the 133-cap Spanish legend told reporters: "I am not comfortable as a reserve.
"I want to play more and change the situation, although the team comes first and it is the coach who decides.
"I just have to take advantage of the minute given to me. It's a tragic situation but I want to reverse it and feel more useful."
Enrique has largely chosen summer signing Ivan Rakitic over the playmaker so far this term and the switch has looked the right one, with Barca impressive in La Liga and still yet to concede a goal in domestic action.
If Rakitic can't be dislodged then there are plenty of clubs across the continent who would like to show Xavi there's life beyond Barca, with United at the top of that list.
Louis van Gaal wants more midfielders
The Red Devils may have spent a club-record £150m in the summer transfer window, but boss Van Gaal still definitely wants further reinforcements in key areas including central midfield.
United still look a little light in the centre and of course in defence, and could yet reignite their interest in a proven world-class commodity if he remains sidelined throughout the first half of the season.
Van Gaal helped Xavi develop into the fantastic player he is today and even gave the World Cup winner his Barca debut all the way back in August 1998, so don't be surprised if launches a move to persuade the schemer he's not too late try the Premier League when the January transfer window opens.
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