Xavi axes five players from Barcelona pre-season tour as overhaul continues

Barcelona manager Xavi has taken the hard-line with some of his squad players by excluding them from the club’s pre-season tour to the United States.

The Spanish giants are in the midst of a financial crisis. They cannot register new signings Franck Kessie or Andreas Christensen until players leave the club.

Barcelona found themselves in a similar situation last summer. New signings Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia could not be registered until the closing days of pre-season. Ultimately, a mixture of wage deferrals to current player contracts, and a number of high-profile exits, including Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann, meant that Barca could register their entire squad.

This summer, Xavi has already begun to wield the axe on his squad. He opted not to take up future fee agreements at the end of Adama Traore and Luuk de Jong’s loans. They have returned to parent clubs Wolves and Sevilla respectively.

Xavi also decided to release club legend Dani Alves at the end of his contract. Meanwhile, defender Clement Lenglet has completed a loan move to Tottenham Hotspur.

Fellow centre-back Samuel Umtiti was linked with Rennes. However, the club will not pursue a deal over “fitness concerns”, according to Spanish outlet Sport.

Now, the Barcelona boss has told five first-team players that they will not be travelling with the team to the States.

Xavi excludes five Barcelona players from pre-season tour

According to a report by Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo, Xavi has told the players that they are excused from training at the Ciutat Esportiva – Barcelona’s training facility – until Monday, July 11.

The report also states that the five players involved will appear in training on Monday, if they have not found a new club or Xavi changes his mind on their pre-season tour status.

The five players named are goalkeeper Neto, defensive duo Samuel Umtiti and Oscar Mingueza, midfielder Riqui Puig and forward Rey Manaj. Mundo Deportivo claim that Clement Lenglet was on the list before his loan move to Spurs.

Out of the five players remaining, only Mingueza was a regular in the Barcelona first-team last season. He made 19 appearances, although most of those were under previous boss Ronald Koeman.

Mingueza was an important player in Koeman’s 3-5-2 system, which he utilised at the end of the 2020/21 season and the beginning of the 2021/22 season. He scored in El Clasico in April 2021.

Umtiti, meanwhile, made just one La Liga appearance last season. It was in the 2-2 draw against Osasuna in December.

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Neto has served as backup to Marc-Andre Ter Stegen since joining Barca from Valencia in 2019. Manaj spent last season on loan at Serie A side Spezia, scoring five goals in 30 league appearances.

Finally, Puig made 15 La Liga appearances last term. However, he has not been a regular under Xavi or Koeman.

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