Xavi Hernandez has said Barcelona need a Santi Cazorla-type player if they are to build on their success of winning LaLiga this season.

The Barca boss led the club to their first league title since 2019 but said they must strengthen this summer if they want to take steps forward in Europe following back-to-back group-stage exits in the Champions League.

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After missing out on Lionel Messi, who announced his intention to join Inter Miami on Wednesday, Xaxi said he wants an attacking midfielder and a replacement for Sergio Busquets, who will leave the club when his contract expires this month.

“I would sign a Santi Cazorla for Barca,” Xavi, who coached the former Arsenal midfielder in Qatar, told Jijantes.

“He is the best player I’ve worked with as a manager. You cannot put a price on him. With the exception of Messi, Busquets and [Andres] Iniesta, he’s the player I’ve most fallen in love with. He has a talent that doesn’t exist elsewhere in the game.”

Cazorla, 38, is still playing for Al Sadd in Qatar having joined the club in 2020 when Xavi was head coach.

Xavi had expressed frequently in recent weeks his desire to bring Messi back to the club, but with the Argentina forward heading to Major League Soccer, Barca will now have to focus their search elsewhere.

ESPN previously reported the club have held talks with Ilkay Gundogan, whose Manchester City contract expires this month, and they remain keen on signing the German midfielder.

However, City boss Pep Guardiola has said ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final against Inter Milan that he is hopeful Gundogan will extend his stay at the Premier League side.

Barca have also shown an interest in another City midfielder, Bernardo Silva, although their financial situation makes a deal for the Portugal international difficult.

As they are in excess of their LaLiga-imposed spending limit for next season, they can only spend 40% of any money they save or generate.

Xavi also said he wants to sign a deeper midfielder to replace Busquets, who is in talks with Inter Miami and two Saudi Arabian sides.

“We will strengthen but people have to understand the financial situation is not easy, so we will see what we can do,” Xavi added.

“We need a Busquets replacement. A lot of names have come out: [Joshua] Kimmich, [Martin] Zubimendi, [Sofyan] Amrabat… it’s normal that names come out, but I have still not even been able to speak with the players that could leave.

“We have meetings to see what we can do. I don’t know how many midfielders have been linked. So many media outlets live off Barca: television, radio, print… it’s impossible to control that. That is the magnitude of Barca.”

Xavi said, if their financial situation allows, Barca will also look to sign a striker to help take the load off top scorer Robert Lewandowski.

Athletico Paranaense’s Vitor Roque, who recently made his Brazil debut at the age of 18, is one of the options the club are contemplating.

“He is on the shortlist,” Xavi said. “We have a good level of coverage in the South American market and it’s a situation we have under control, but we come back to the same thing: it all depends on the financial situation.”

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Xavi Hernandez wants ‘Santi Cazorla’-type player as top Barcelona transfer priority