Sergio Busquets looks set to be the talk of the summer after Spanish newspaper Sport claimed Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United are all interested in signing the Barcelona star.
The paper even claims that each is willing to pay more than €100 million for the midfielder, who is impatiently waiting for Barcelona to offer him a contract extension.
It would mean an intense transfer saga involving three of Europe’s elite sides, each one vying for a player they hope will help them reach the heights that Busquets has come accustomed to in Spain.
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Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has reportedly promised Busquets a new contract but the World Cup winner is growing impatient as a deal continues to stall.
And Manchester City, PSG and Manchester United are looking to capitalise on any potential cracks in the Barcelona-Busquets relationship.
The three clubs are backed by rich investors and out of the three, it would appear City have the best shot at landing him thanks to their incoming manager, Pep Guardiola.
Busquets admitted in an interview with ESPN that only his wife or Guardiola could convince him to leave Catalonia.
“It is clear that I owe Guardiola a lot,” the 27-year-old said. “For me to work with him would be an honour.”
That admiration stems from their relationship at Barcelona. Busquets was a key part of Guardiola’s Barcelona B side, before the 45-year-old promoted the La Masia graduate to the first team in 2008.
They went on to win three La Liga titles, two Champions League trophies and two Copa del Rey cups together.
So it’s well and truly advantage City.
Jose Mourinho rivalry
Their Manchester rivals are interested but Busquets doesn't wish to play under Jose Mourinho, the man in pole position to replace Louis van Gaal.
Mourinho, of course, managed Barcelona’s bitter rivals Real Madrid for three seasons and his behaviour during the El Clasico’s won’t have sat well with Barcelona’s players.
Meanwhile, PSG could give Busquets wages rivalling that of the world’s richest but couldn’t give him a competitive league to play in. The French club have a 23-point lead over their nearest rivals in Ligue 1 and the midfielder is still keen on playing at an intense level.
Wants to stay at Barca
Let’s not forget that Barcelona still have first say on Busquets’ future, and his admission to ESPN that he wants to end his career at the club he joined as a boy is promising for Luis Enrique.
He is regarded as an underrated player but viewers will understand just how good Busquets truly is. Goalscorers hog the headlines - football has always been that way - but Barcelona wouldn’t be willing to increase his wages to match that of Barca’s top earners (bar Messi and Neymar) if they didn’t think he was a special talent.
Who needs Busquets more - City, United or PSG? Let us know in the comments section below!