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How Barcelona could line up under Xavi with Sterling and Kounde and reverting to Guardiola formation


BARCELONA legend Xavi is understood to be taking the hot seat at his old club.

Ex-boss Ronald Koeman has been given the chop following a woeful run of results that leaves Barca ninth in La Liga.

Now Xavi is reported to be lining up Man City’s Raheem Sterling and Jules Kounde of Sevilla as his first signings.

The 41-year-old won every trophy going in his 17 years as a player at the club.

And he is thought to prefer a return to the 4-3-3 formation that brought so much success during the ‘tiki taka’ era under Pep Guardiola.

Koeman was arguably fighting with one hand tied behind his back this season.

He lost talisman Lionel Messi to Paris Saint-Germain after financial turmoil at the Nou Camp meant they couldn’t afford to hold onto him.

And new signing Sergio Aguero was crocked before even kicking a ball.

Results were awful under the Dutchman but one thing he can be credited with is bringing through Barca’s raft of young talent.

The question for Xavi would be what combination of youth and experience does he go for in his new era.

There is little doubt Marc-Andre ter Stegen keeps his position between the sticks.

The back four is prime territory for blending young and old, with the experienced Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto flanking Eric Garcia and potential new man Kounde.

Ahead of them sits another mix of present and future.

Club captain Sergio Busquets sits as the anchor between the frighteningly talented Gavi and the developing Frenkie de Jong.

Then comes the head-scratcher – who leads the line in this new-look XI?

Xavi is reported to believe he can revive the career of Ousmane Dembele – the young Frenchman who joined for big money but has suffered horrendous injury luck.

And if Sterling comes in, there’s every chance he starts in a front three alongside former City team-mate Aguero.

There are a lot of ifs and buts in this though – the 33-year-old Aguero joined Barca to play with Messi and is reportedly eyeing a reunion at PSG.

Big names Memphis Depay and Philippe Coutinho are also relegated to the bench.

Xavi is one of the most famous graduates of the vaunted La Masia academy.


Xavi is understood to rate injury-hit Ousmane Dembele[/caption]

The Catalans’ youth set-up has also produced the likes of megastars Messi, Andres Iniesta and Carles Puyol.

So what’s to stop Xavi putting his faith in the current crop of starlets coming through the ranks?

Barca may be skint but they are currently blessed with some of the best youngsters on earth.

A little mix-and-match would need to happen to squeeze them all in. The prodigy Pedri may have to play further forward than usual.

There’s space for just one old hand – Xavi could put his former team-mate Gerard Pique in at the back as the senior figure while the kids run amok.

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