Barcelona are considering the signing of Manchester United target Ilkay Gundogan to replace Xavi Hernandez, reports in Spain claim.
The Spanish legend is expected to announce his departure from the Camp Nou in a press conference on 21 May after he had reportedly agreed to move to Qatar side Al Sadd ahead of next season.
And even though the Catalans are unable to add any players to the squad until the January transfer window due to a Fifa ban, Spanish newspaper AS claims they are already preparing for life without the legend and have identified the Borussia Dortmund midfielder as a likely candidate.
The reports says Barcelona tried to secure his services two seasons ago before they were forced to back-track on their intentions due to the German's long-term back problems.
But after Gundogan recently decided against renewing his contract at the Bundesliga giants and with his fitness concerns over, the Catalans are ready to renew their efforts to secure his services.
Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc confirmed earlier in May that the club are ready to cash in with the Germany international for a reasonable price this summer as, with his contract set to expire in 2016, it is the last chance to take make profit on him.
"Our negotiations with the player came to the conclusion that he is not going to extend his contract and so he will leave this summer. But this also will depend on what offers we have on the table. Until now we have not received any offer," Zord said.
Arsenal and Manchester United have since been heavily linked with his services, with Louis van Gaal confirming he is searching for an alternative to Michael Carrick.
"It's clear that Carrick is very important but that's also because we have only one right-sided holding midfielder. That's what I am saying already in the whole of the season, that our selection is not balanced, and I want to restore that in the next transfer period," the United manager said.
German reports in April suggested United launched a £21.5m bid to bring Gundogan to Old Trafford but now it looks like the Premier League giants will have to fight with Barcelona to secure his services.
In this sense and with the Catalans unable to add him this summer, AS claims Barcelona may sign him now and send him on loan until January or even the end of the next campaign.