Sergio Busquets has been one of the first names on Barcelona’s team sheet ever since his introduction to the first team by Pep Guardiola in 2008.
Just 20 at the time and having only recently helped Barca B to a promotion to the third tier of Spanish football, within a year Busquets had risen to debut for the Spanish national team and won the Champions League with Barca's senior side.
Clearly here was a player from the very top bracket, and anyone who watched him play talked about him in glowing terms.
Former Barca coach Cesar Luis Menotti was one of the first to note: "He’s one of the greatest talents that has been given to Spanish football. This is a discovery. The first time I saw Busquets playing, I called a friend and said: ‘I saw a player from an extinct species’. He’s a star.’
Menotti wasn’t alone either. Johan Cruyff, never one to mince his words, also gave 'Busi' ultimate approval: "He is a gift for any coach. The speed of his passing is perfect and he is the kind of player you don’t need to explain anything to. You just put him in his position and he performs."
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By the start of 2010 World Cup, Spain manager Vicente Del Bosque was convinced: "If I could be any player in the world, I would like to be Sergio Busquets. He does everything; he always helps the team, he is generous, and he is the first to get the team moving. When he plays, the football is more fluid. With Busquets in the team, our football is better."
With those words ringing in his ears, it's no surprise to hear that Chelsea and Manchester United are about to come calling. As the January transfer window opens for business, England's top clubs will be seeking to take advantage of alleged dressing room unrest at the Camp Nou.
Arguably Arsenal would benefit the most from having Busquets in-situ but they've reportedly agreed an €18 million capture of Sami Khedira from Barca's big rivals Real Madrid.
Can Barcelona really contemplate life without their lynchpin though?
The club has been mired in controversy over the last few years and any proposed sale of Busquets would surely be the straw that finally broke the camels back. Luis Enrique has apparently divided opinion since his appointment.
Changing his starting line up for 25 games in succession has gone down like a lead balloon, as has his treatment of Gerard Pique. Treating World Cup winners like children smacks of a manager out of his depth, but it’s not the first time he has been accused of the same.
SerieAddicted noted of his time in Rome: "He never managed to inspire motivation and concentration in the team. Roma suffered many debacles in the 2011-2012 season […] the team showed an appalling lack of personality and let itself go, without even fighting. Lecce descended into Serie B – the Italian second division – that season but even so they outclassed Roma.
"Games with Juventus are very important for Roma fans as the two clubs are divided by a harsh rivalry. But that night, Roma kneeled to the Bianconeri. Something unacceptable that definitely broke the relationship between Luis Enrique and Roma fans.
"The fault for such a lack of personality – and a never-ending discontinuity – has to be ascribed to the coach. It’s odd for a player that became famous also for his grit and leadership, but he clearly didn’t manage to convey these characteristics over to his players."
Anyone dismissing the notion that Busquets would ever consider leaving needs a sharp reality check. Every player at every club wants to be happy. Sergio Busquets is no different.
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