Barcelona are reportedly eyeing up Villarreal star Dani Parejo in the event that Sergio Busquets departs in the summer.
What’s happening with Barcelona’s midfield?
Busquets is yet to make a decision on his future and could move to Inter Miami in MLS, and as Barcelona’s captain and longest-serving player, he would need a replacement of significant experience and quality.
Gundogan has been linked with a move to Camp Nou from Manchester City, but Parejo has now been mooted as another option. The Spaniard has 444 La Liga appearances to his name, most notably for Valencia and Villarreal, and could provide experience and quality to help replace one of Barcelona’s best-ever players.
A report in Mundo Deportivo has claimed that Barcelona could move for the 33-year-old should they fail to land Gundogan, or even sign both if Busquets departs.
It reads: “Another name that Barca has as an alternative for midfield is Dani Parejo, who turns 34 next month.
“It is another market opportunity because in Barcelona they believe that they could secure him. It would be a replacement for Busquets.
“At the moment, Gundogan would be ahead of Parejo, although it is not ruled out that both of them end up arriving in summer.”
Where could Parejo fit in at Barcelona?
The 4-cap Spain international could slot straight into the Busquets role as a deeper midfielder behind starlets Pedri and Gavi, as well as playing further forward with Frenkie de Jong potentially starting deeper.
Parejo had been praised by his midfield partner Etienne Capoue, who has labelled him as “incredible” and “one of the best” midfielders around.
However, he may not be able to perform his defensive duties to a similar level as Busquets. Based on performances over the past year, Parejo ranks in the bottom 11% of midfielders for aerial duels, compared to Busquets ranking in the top 8% as per FBref.
Although he has been a quality performer for Villarreal, he would not be a long-term option at his age, and whilst he would provide experience, his lack of mobility on the ball could be an issue.
According to FBref, Parejo makes significantly fewer tackles and interceptions per game than Busquets, and whilst he does rank highly for passing and progressive passes, his overall game may not be the solution as Barcelona look to replace one of the most important figures in their team.
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