Xavi to sign new Al-Sadd contract (with special Barcelona clause)
Al-Sadd manager Xavi is expected to put pen to paper on a new contract with the Qatari side which will give him the freedom to join Barcelona if they come knocking.
Xavi has been tipped to return to Camp Nou for years now, and many thought that this summer would be the perfect time. His contract with Al-Sadd expires at the end of June, and with new president Joan Laporta calling the shots, the stars seemed to be aligning.
However, according to AS, Xavi will not be returning to Barcelona this summer as he has agreed a two-year contract extension with Al-Sadd, who were desperate to retain the Spaniard and keep him as an ambassador for the country when the 2022 World Cup rolls in.
There does seem to be some confusion about the end of Xavi's new contract. AS say the summer of 2023 but Marca believe it will expire directly after the 2022 World Cup in December of that year. Either way, he's signing on.
During negotiations, Xavi was completely open about his desire to return to Barcelona one day, and Al-Sadd have been respectful of that. Both sides have come to an agreement that the former Blaugrana midfielder can speak to his old club if they come knocking, no questions asked.
Xavi does now believe he is ready to join Barcelona, having turned down earlier advances over fears he needed more experience, but he has decided to wait a little longer nonetheless.
He has already decided that Barcelona are the only team he would leave Al-Sadd for. It's claimed that Xavi has turned down advances from a handful of European sides already as he is solely focused on joining Barcelona one day.
In the meantime, however, it is unclear what Laporta plans to do. The president has been considering all his options, with Leicester's Brendan Rodgers and RB Leipzig's Julian Nagelsmann both on his radar, but with both making decisions on their futures already, Barcelona may have to consider other options.
Given the team's recent upturn in form, it's not out of the question that current boss Ronald Koeman gets to keep his gig. The Dutchman has turned Barcelona into title contenders again and brought back some of the Blaugrana spirit which had been lost over the last few years.
Barcelona sit two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid, whom they will meet on Saturday, and a La Liga title victory would surely be enough to convince the board to keep Koeman on.