Influential Barcelona captain Xavi is set to follow Jermain Defoe to the MLS if reports suggesting he has agreed a move to New York Red Bulls have any foundation.
And while losing the Spanish international, who has won every major trophy worth competing for at the Nou Camp, will be bad news for the Catalan giants, it could be even worse for Arsenal if Gerardo Martino’s side start lining up potential replacements.
In recent weeks, speculation has been starting to build over Xavi’s future with the 33-year-old suggesting he may not end his career with the Blaugrana, who are 8/15 to win a 23rd Primera Liga title.
“It is difficult to finish your career here,” Xavi said. “I do not know if I will end it at Barca. I would like to. But I do not know what will happen.”
To add fuel to the fire Sky Italia are now claiming the World Cup winner has agreed a deal to join Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill at the Red Bulls after the conclusion of this summer’s tournament in Brazil.
If it proves to be true that Xavi’s 17-year career in Catalonia is coming to an end it could have a huge impact on Arsene Wenger’s side, who are 4/1 to win the title, as Barcelona believe in-form Jack Wilshere could be the man to fill the void left by La Maisa academy graduate.
The England international, who was on the scoresheet in the Gunners’ 2-1 win over Aston Villa on Monday, came to Barcelona’s attention with his brilliant display against the club in Arsenal’s 2-1 Champions League win back in 2011.
Barca scouts kept a close eye on the 22-year-old, whose fine form has helped Arsenal to the top of the Premier League, identifying him as the man with the potential to help carry the playmaking burden once Xavi and Andres Iniesta call time on their careers in trips to watch Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song.
But having lost the likes of Fabregas, Robin van Persie and Samir Nasri in the prime of their careers, Wenger, who has led his side to a renaissance this season, will be desperate to hold onto Wilshere as he looks to end Arsenal’s eight-year trophy drought.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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