Xavi is considering a move to Major League Soccer after the end of this season, according to several press reports in Europe.
The Barcelona midfield star hasn’t addressed the possibility of moving to MLS, but he has said that “Being tied to Barcelona is a privilege, but I don’t know what will happen in the future.”
The Spaniard’s contract is set to expire in 2016, but Spanish newspaper AS reports that New York Red Bulls have contacted Xavi’s representatives in the past few weeks to try to engineer a move to the States.
UPDATE: The Daily Telegraph reports that it’s the New York City FC team, not New York Red Bulls, who are interested in signing Xavi.
In pure soccer terms, MLS could make no better move. While marketing dictated the moves for David Beckham among others, no player within the reach of MLS could do more to elevate the quality of the league than Xavi.
Arguably the most influential player of the last decade in world soccer who has won three UEFA Champions League winners medals and the last three major international tournaments, Xavi would instantly transform MLS from a credibility standpoint.
The midfielder is the most significant piece to Barcelona’s playing style, leading every club who wishes to play tiki-taka soccer to want a player of Xavi’s skill set, physique and technique in the middle of the park.
While from a marketing standpoint many bigger names exist around the world, strong opinions can be put forward that Xavi has been the single most influential player in world soccer over the past several years. Barcelona and Spain’s success very well might not have happened without him.
Should Xavi come to MLS, it would be a major boon to the league, attracting Barcelona fans as well as those who see the league’s soccer as sub-standard. While Xavi is entering the twilight of his career, his impact on the Catalan giants is unmistakable to this day. He remains the focal point of the team he plays in although tactically, the side is more pragmatic under Tata Martino then previous managers.
Since Martino is changing Barca’s reliance on Xavi and tiki-taka gradually, the time might be right after another World Cup for Xavi to leave the side. Given a player of his quality, the ultimate one-club man should not play for a rival of any sort in Europe, a move to MLS makes perfect sense.
It could be a marriage made in heaven for player and league. From the perspective of an American soccer fan, it would be tremendous if it actually happens.