Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez has urged the Catalan manager Ernesto Valverde to not sign any La Masia players who have left the club for a lucrative pay package earlier in their career. Barcelona have already brought back Cesc Fabregas and Gerard Pique but Xavi insists that this practice needs to stop and the club should focus more on grooming their own talents.
Hector Bellerin has long been linked with a return to the club with whom he spent his formative years before moving to Arsenal as a teenager back in 2011. The pacy 22-year-old was previously among Valverde's top targets but the chase got over after the Catalans confirmed the signing of Nelson Semedo.
ESPN are reporting that Barcelona will pay the Portuguese club a fee of around €35m (£30m) including performance based add-ons bringing to an end to Sergi Roberto's time as the club's first choice right-back. Valverde had made signing a right-back a priority since taking over at the Camp Nou and Bellerin was said to be their preferred target. Arsenal were adamant that they will not sell the Spain international, which turned the Catalans to other targets.
However, Xavi is not too happy with Barca trying to get back the players who left them at an earlier age, as they send a wrong signal.
"I haven't seen him play a lot, but I'll tell you something, it's difficult for me to accept signing a player we already had," he told Spanish outlet Sport, as quoted by the Mirror. "Yes, it can work out or not. But I would not sign players who leave. Why are they leaving at 16 or 17? It's baffling to be. I don't understand it. You were here, you wanted to leave, then you don't come back."
"Barcelona needs to nurture itself on homegrown players. They can't leave like this," he added. The defender has signed a six-year contract with the Gunners, which has maximised his valuation while the Gunners are not willing to sell at any price.