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Xavi: Barcelona ‘Could Have Signed Better’

Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez has criticized the clubs summer transfer window activity as their summer pursuit of Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho looks set to end in failure.

Despite looking set to miss out on Coutinho, Barca ended up bringing in five players this summer, including breaking the club’s transfer record to bring in Ousmane Dembele from Dortmund.

However, former captain Xavi feels the majority of players that have been signed aren’t suited to the club’s style of play.

“Barca still play really good football but they could have signed better,” he said in an interview with Marca.

“They’ve fallen asleep because five or six years ago they had the best players in the world for Barca’s system. Now, for that system, they have five or six players: [Andres] Iniesta, [Jordi] Alba, [Lionel] Messi, [Gerard] Pique, Luis Suarez, [Sergio] Busquets.

“But Barca should have 11 for that system. Before, you wouldn’t see anyone play and say: ‘He’d be good at Barca.’ That’s because they were already there. They have signed players that don’t fit that system.

“The academy has to be strengthened. If there are doubts, look at what you have in-house. In Barca’s best era, at least 60 percent of the players came from the academy.”

Barca were beaten handily by rivals Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup and while Xavi acknowledges there are problems which need resolving at the club, he warned against writing them off just yet.

“Patience [is needed],” he added. “In the year of our Treble, everyone wanted Luis Enrique out in January. Madrid won I don’t know how many games in a row. They seemed invincible, but they lost in Valencia and then again at home and we ended up winning three trophies.

“The beauty of football is that you never know. With [Pep] Guardiola, I had a feeling of superiority on the pitch that I’ve not felt since, but of the four Champions Leagues that we deserved to win, we only won two.

“Madrid are a winning team at the moment, they have that habit of winning. The feeling is that they’re a much more established team and that Barca are beginning a new era, but that doesn’t mean to say they can’t win La Liga.”