According to the Spanish radio show El Larguero, Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez is set to join New York City FC in 2016.
Last summer, reports surfaced linking the Spain international with the new Major League Soccer franchise – as well as the Qatari club, Al Arabi.
At the time, Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu said Xavi had earned the right to decide his future. While teammates made personal pleas for the veteran midfielder to remain with the Catalan club.
“If Xavi’s departure is confirmed, it will leave a huge hole in the dressing room,” centre-back Marc Bartra said in late July. “Personally, Xavi has helped me a lot, and so it would be very sad news for me if he leaves, but we will respect his decision. He has earned everyone’s respect.”
Manager Luis Enrique also held face-to-face talks with the Spain international to explain the role he envisioned the influential midfielder would have in the squad this season.
In the end, Xavi decided to remain at Barcelona, with further reports speculating the 35-year-old would re-evaluate his position in January.
Last night, El Larguero reported a meeting took place between Xavi, his father, Ivan Corretjia (the player’s agent) and a Manchester City representative – City being the parent club of NYCFC.
According to the Spanish radio show, Xavi gave tentative approval to move to New York City FC in 2016.
NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna recently expressed his interest in the Barcelona midfielder during an interview with Catalan television.
“We are very interested in ‘franchise’ players, like Xavi,” Reyna said. “The door is not closed. We will see.”
“For sure we will need to bring in a third ‘franchise’ player in the summer.”
New York City FC already have former Spain international and Barcelona striker David Villa on their roster, with Frank Lampard expected to join the first-year MLS club in the near future.
Programming note: Orlando City vs. New York City FC will be shown LIVE on Sunday starting at 5:00pm EST on ESPN 2. If you live in the US, watch the game online for free with a trial of Sling TV.
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