Barcelona have pinpointed Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke as the man that they want to replace outgoing legend Xavi at the Nou Camp, reports the Daily Mail.
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Xavi is reportedly close to a move to Qatari club Al Sadd, after twenty-four years in total with the Catalan club, having come through their academy. During that time, the playmaker has won the La Liga title seven times, and the Champions League on three occasions, as well as many other domestic and international honours.
According to the Mail, it is head coach Luis Enrique that has suggested that the current league leaders pay the £44m it would take to activate Koke’s release clause at Atletico.
The 23-year-old played a crucial role in Diego Simeone’s side clinching a surprise league title last season, as well as reaching the Champions League final, where they were beaten by Real Madrid.
The potential move will be a major blow to some Premier League clubs, including Manchester United and Chelsea, who according to the Daily Star, were interested in signing the Spanish international.
However, one factor working in the English clubs’ favour is the fact that Barcelona will be unable to sign the midfielder until January 2016, due to a transfer embargo placed upon the club for breaching FIFA regulations.