FC Barcelona Interested In Signing Messi Teammate Enzo Fernandez As Busquets Heir

FC Barcelona are interested in signing Lionel Messi’s Argentina teammate Enzo Fernandez as the perfect replacement for Sergio Busquets.

Captain Busquets’ contract expires in June next year, and it is widely expected that the Spaniard will end his 14-year tenure in the Barca first team and cross the Atlantic to the MLS.

Like Messi, the pivot has been linked to Inter Miami and will leave a huge hole in Xavi Hernandez’s squad.

Barca have labored to find a long-term replacement for Busquets, with Frenkie de Jong tipped to finally inhabit his favorite role behind Gavi and Pedri in midfield.

In the transfer market, it has been rumored that Barca will try to buy Martin Zubimendi to fill his compatriot’s boots.

But according to SPORT on Tuesday morning, the Real Sociedad academy product has competition from Benfica’s Enzo Fernandez.

Joining the Lisbon outfit from River Plate last summer for €10mn with a further €8mn due in add-ons, the 21-year-old has impressed both in Portugal and on the continent in the Champions League where he has faced Messi’s Paris Saint Germain side and Juventus.

Former sporting director Ramon Planes was once interested in signing Fernandez, but as there was no money in the coffers given Barca’s debts circling $1.5bn, the Catalans were forced to watch him eventually head to Benfica.

Fernandez is currently valued at €20mn by Transfermarkt. But given he has a contract running until 2027, he could fetch anything up to four to five times that value.

Benfica have a talent for sealing South American talents on the cheap and then selling them for a premium to bigger continental rivals – a phenomenon most recently seen when they shipped Darwin Nunez off to Liverpool in a deal that could reach €100mn.

Earning two caps for Lionel Scaloni so far, Fernandez is expected to form part of Argentina’s World Cup squad for Qatar 2022 which could also reach his value if he is picked and performs well.

Barca need to act fast, or they could end up having to pick between De Jong or Nico Gonzalez when the youngster returns from his loan assignment with Valencia.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomsanderson/2022/10/11/fc-barcelona-interested-in-signing-messi-teammate-enzo-fernandez-as-busquets-heir/