Barcelona eye Sergio Busquets replacement in Villarreal’s Dani Parejo after Ilkay Gundogan signing

FC Barcelona are hoping to secure another veteran presence to replace the departing Sergio Busquets by making a move for Dani Parejo.

Barca legend Busquets is leaving the Catalan giants after a trophy-laden era with the club. The Spaniard will be joining Inter Miami in the MLS, where he will have a reunion with Lionel Messi.

During his final season with the Blaugrana, Busquets made 30 appearances as Barcelona reclaimed the La Liga title. His invaluable ability in the holding midfield role has been the linchpin of the Barca playstyle for years – making Busquets almost impossible to replace.

Whilst young stars such as Gavi and Pedri provide energy, Barcelona does not have a solid midfield anchor in Busquets’ absence. Frenkie de Jong and Franck Kessie are alternative options, however, Xavi’s squad is definitely light in this department.

Reports from Spain are, therefore, hinting at the arrival of a new Spanish maestro.

Why Dani Parejo makes sense for Barcelona

According to Relevo, Dani Parejo could plausibly join Barcelona. And, in a move that will undoubtedly be a positive for the cash-strapped Blaugrana, he could switch to Camp Nou for free.

The Villarreal star has a clause in his existing contract that allows him to leave the club for nothing this summer – if he wants to.

Gerard Romero reports that Barca have offered Parejo a one year deal, which has an option to extend by an additional 12 months.

Parejo helped Villarreal finish fifth in La Liga, enabling the Yellow Submarine to qualify for next season’s Europa League. The 34-year-old commands games from midfield and regularly sets the tempo – exactly what Barca are looking for.

In fact, when you look at the stats, Parejo and Busquets are very similar in what they do. Passing-wise, both are astute in possession, rarely giving the ball away. Parejo had a 91% pass accuracy last season, per Sofascore, with Busquets just behind at 89%.

Parejo is ahead of his compatriot in key passes as well, with 1.4 compared to Busquets’ 0.8.

Even from a defensive standpoint, the pair are inseparable. The Villarreal star averaged 0.8 interceptions and 1.9 tackles per game. By comparison, Barca’s departing icon had 0.9 interceptions and also 1.9 tackles.

In Dani Parejo, Barcelona would have almost a like-for-like replacement for Busquets. Sadly, though, the midfielder has not yet shown any indication that he wishes to leave Villarreal.

Barca have already signed one midfielder on a free transfer as they look to bolster their squad.

Ilkay Gundogan joins Barcelona

The Catalan giants have secured their latest free-agent coup with the signing of Man City’s Ilkay Gundogan.

Gundogan joins after an incredible season with the Citizens, where he was a crucial part of their treble run. In particular, his brace that helped deliver the 2022/23 FA Cup will live long in the memory of City fans.

Nevertheless, he leaves the club in pursuit of a fresh challenge with Barcelona. The German international has signed a two-year deal with Barca which has an option to extend until 2026. In recent years, Gundogan has developed a niche as a goal-scoring midfielder – an area where Xavi is desperate to improve his squad.

With his first Champions League title now under his belt, Gundogan will try and help Barca to a first European triumph since 2015 in 2023/24.

Featured image credit: Getty