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Xavi makes contact with soon-to-be free agent Ilkay Gundogan

Barcelona have intensified their pursuit of Ilkay Gundogan, with Diario AS reporting that Xavi has held talks with the Manchester City midfielder.

The German midfielder is out of contract at the end of this season, and Man City haven’t taken any significant steps towards his renewal.

City’s reported interest in players like Declan Rice and Mateo Kovacic means that Gundogan could leave the Etihad Stadium this summer.

Barca have shown interest in the 32-year-old and identified him as one of their top targets to strengthen the midfield ranks.

It was previously reported that Gundogan could be a potential replacement for Sergio Busquets, whose current deal expires in the summer.

However, it now looks that the German international’s arrival would not affect Busquets’ future, with the Spaniard leaning towards continuing with his boyhood club.

Barcelona have presented a one-year offer to Busquets, whom Xavi still considers pivotal to his plans.

Xavi wants to persuade Gundogan to move to Camp Nou while the player has also become convinced about joining the La Liga giants.

Gundogan is also willing to reduce his salary at Barca, which would help them comply with La Liga’s strict financial rules.

The former Borussia Dortmund star would bring plenty of quality to their squad, an aspect which was missing with the club when key players were injured this season.

Barca have been linked with several midfielders, including Martin Zubimendi and Ruben Neves, but Gundogan is a more realistic target.

The German international has been an excellent acquisition for City, but the opportunity to see out his career with Barca could be tough to pass up.

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