Football

Adrien Rabiot has just entered the final six months of his deal..

Barcelona risk upsetting key players with their pursuit of PSG's Adrien Rabiot

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It's set to be a strange couple of years at Barcelona as a large part of their squad roll into their thirties.

Jordi Alba, Luis Suarez, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, and Ivan Rakitic will all be over 30 come the end of the season and Barca have little choice but to think about replacements.

Those five players have long been the backbone of the Barcelona team - Pique & Busquets, in particular, have been regulars for seven La Liga triumphs over ten years.

It's the midfield that really stands out there, with both Busquets and Rakitic rapidly approaching a time where their legs simply won't be up to the running.

Having two key players coming up to that time means reinforcements are needed, much like Arthur's arrival in the summer after Andres Iniesta departed.

All kinds of names have been linked - this summer even saw reported interest in Manchester United's Paul Pogba, although the change in the situation there surely ended what small hopes Barca had.

Instead, the Catalonians will have to aim a little lower than Pogba, although they still have two incredibly highly-rated targets on the list.

AS reports that Barca want both Adrien Rabiot and Frenkie de Jong for their midfield but making it happen necessitates a difficult balance.

Rabiot is free to negotiate as of New Year's Day as he's now within the final six months of his deal with Paris Saint-Germain.

Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic will soon need replacing.

While that makes it easier to get discussions going, it also means Barca have to effectively bid in an auction with other clubs, with Rabiot currently looking for 50 million euros over five years.

That's a big problem, though, as it would make Rabiot one of the highest earners at the club - as AS put it, the proposed wage would 'smother' even that of club legend Busquets.

But Barca also want De Jong, a player who while he won't demand wages quite as high as that, his fee would be around 70 million euros on top of whatever wage he does want.

Frenkie de Jong is also on Barcelona's watch list.

Barca need to replace their midfield but they risk greatly angering their current dressing room to do so.

They'll need to make a big decision very soon and no matter what, it will have a huge impact on the fortunes of Barcelona.

It's also a reminder of how difficult it is to replace stars like this - something to keep in mind considering Lionel Messi is also on that list of players in their 30s.

Good luck with that one.

Topics:
Football
Adrien Rabiot
Ivan Rakitic
Sergio Busquets
Ligue 1
Paris Saint-Germain
La Liga

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