The agent of Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez, Ivan Corretja, has denied reports claiming his client is set to join Manchester United in January, despite admitting that he recently visited the English city.
It was reported last month that Xavi, 34, rejected the chance to join the Red Devils in the summer - even though his former manager, Louis van Gaal, was keen to bring him to Old Trafford. However, rumours recently surfaced that the Barcelona legend is far from happy with his current peripheral role at the Camp Nou, and that a short-term move to Old Trafford could be a distinct possibility.
Corretja was recently spotted in Manchester - sending the rumour mill into overdrive - but he insists that he was not in England to discuss Xavi’s future. He went on to reveal that the World Cup winner is currently content at the Camp Nou, despite reports to the contrary.
“Xavi is very happy with Barça and the coaching staff is happy with him. He’s not planning on leaving,” he told Mundo Deportivo. “It is true I was in Manchester but not to talk about Xavi.”
“It is true I was in Manchester but not to talk about Xavi.” - Ivan Corretja.
Corretja met City officials
Mundo Deportivo, however, are not entirely convinced by Corretja’s version of events. They claim that Xavi’s agent did hold talks with officials of a Manchester club - but Manchester City, rather than United.
It’s believed that Corretja was in attendance to watch Manchester City’s recent Champions League clash against AS Roma at the Etihad Stadium, while he also spoke with ex-Barcelona duo Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain while at the club.
New York City FC want Xavi
However, this doesn’t necessary mean that Xavi is destined to secure a short-term move to Manchester City. New York City FC - the newly-established Major League Soccer franchise, who were founded by Man City and baseball giants the New York Yankees - are keen to sign the former Spain international.
New York City FC, who play their first competitive matches in March, have already secured the services of Frank Lampard and David Villa, the former Spain and Barcelona forward who is a close friend of Xavi’s.
United to step up their interest?
It’s possible that this latest development will encourage Manchester United to step up their pursuit of Xavi. But the central midfielder is only likely to leave his beloved Barcelona if he can secure first-team football, which seems unlikely at Old Trafford.
While Xavi remains one of the best passers in world football, the €250,000-a-week star reached the age where he is unable of playing for one Europe’s top teams on a weekly basis.
However, he has become increasingly frustrated on the Barcelona bench this season, and has started just twice under current boss Luis Enrique.