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Barcelona draw up five-man midfield shortlist for 2024, including Leicester City star

Barcelona have lined up potential targets for the holding midfield position for next summer.

The Catalan giants saw Sergio Busquets bid farewell over the summer after spending more than a decade at the club.

Barca considered an array of high-profile players to replace him during the summer window, but their poor financial state prevented them from signing their desired targets.

They were forced to settle for cost-effective transfers, with Xavi choosing Girona’s Oriol Romeu as his hand-picked target.

Although there were initial doubts over his potential, the former La Masia graduate quashed them by quickly adapting to Xavi’s system.

The 32-year-old has established himself as one of the pivotal figures for Xavi, starting in seven of Barca’s nine games in La Liga.

However, things have taken a slight downturn, with Romeu’s performances not up to the mark in recent games.

The Spaniard had a lacklustre outing against Porto in the Champions League last week, which saw him lose his starting sport in the subsequent games against Sevilla and Granada.

Although Xavi sees Romeu as integral to his plans, the Catalan giants are preparing to sign a new central defensive midfielder in January or possibly next summer.

The primary reason is Romeu’s age, and Barca want someone younger who can help the club in the long run.

Barca’s injury crisis – Pedri and Frenkie de Jong are currently sidelined – has prompted them to add more depth to their midfield.

Barcelona have been keeping close tabs on Royal Antwerp’s teenage midfield sensation Arthur Vermeeren, who has showcased his quality in the Champions League.

Another player the La Liga champions are dreaming of signing is Brazil’s hottest sensation Gabriel Moscardo, who is turning heads with his stellar performances for Corinthians.

Real Betis duo Sergi Altimira and Guido Rodriguez are also on Barca’s wishlist, according to Diario Sport.

They are also monitoring Wilfred Ndidi’s situation at Leicester City as his contract runs out next summer.

The Foxes, who currently top the Championship table, are willing to sell him in January to extract a transfer fee.

Barca are expected to face tough competition from Bayern Munich for Ndidi, as the German giants are also in the market for a defensive midfielder.

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