• Spanish legend urges fans to be patient following a disappointing summer transfer window.
  • Xavi appears to back the £36.6m arrival of Paulinho from Guangzhou Evergrande.

Xavi Hernandez believes that Barcelona have "fallen asleep" after claiming that his former club have signed players who do not suit the Catalans' passing game.

Earlier in the summer, the Blaugrana legend urged the club to make every effort to lure Marco Verratti to the Nou Camp amid reports claiming that the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder was Ernesto Valverde's top target.

The new manager was said to be looking for a creative midfielder to set the pace as Barcelona have struggled to dominate games since Xavi left the club in 2015 to continue his career with Qatari side Al-Sadd.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu admitted that Barcelona did try to sign Verratti, but were forced to turn their attentions elsewhere after PSG made it clear that the Italian was not for sale at any price.

The Catalans have since been linked with a number of high-profile stars such as Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho, but with just hours to go until the end of the transfer window they have only made five additions in the form of Paulinho, Nelson Semedo, Gerard Deulofeu, Ousmane Dembele and Marlon Santos. The latter has since joined Nice on loan.

"I was part of an era that was so impressive that it now seems as if it's not the same. They play football well, but they could have signed better," Xavi told Marca when asked for his view on the current state of his former side.

"They have fallen asleep because five or six years ago they had the best players in the world for the Barcelona system. Now they have five or six players for it, in [Andres] Iniesta, [Jordi] Alba, [Lionel] Messi, [Gerard] Pique, Luis Suarez and [Sergio] Busquets. Yet Barcelona should have 11 players who fit the system. You never used to say "this player would fit in well at Barcelona" because all those players were already there. They have signed players who do not fit the system."

Paulinho's move was placed under particular scrutiny by Barcelona fans as his aggressive style appears to be very different to the talented Verratti.

The Catalans also agreed to pay €40m (£36.6m, $47.5m) to Guangzhou Evergrande for his services despite the 29-year-old powerful midfielder struggling to make any impact in his previous spell in Europe with Tottenham Hotspur.

But asked about the Brazilian's arrival at the Nou Camp, Xavi said: "I played against him at the Confederations Cup and he brilliantly man-marked me and Iniesta. He is very powerful. If Real Madrid signed Paulinho there would be no criticism."

Meanwhile, Xavi also demanded that Barcelona fans be patient following a disappointing summer in which they saw Neymar leave to join PSG. The former Spanish international pointed out that they won the treble during his last season at the club despite criticism aimed at manager Luis Enrique.

What short-term or medium-term solutions do Barcelona need?

"Patience," Xavi said when asked what is the solution for the current struggles of his former side.

"In the year we won the treble, Real Madrid won I don't know how many matches in a row. They appeared invincible in January, but then they lost in Valencia and then at home and we ended up winning three titles. The club should also look after its players and make them happy, as they were during the Joan Laporta era. They also need signings. Barcelona need everything to fall into place to win as Real Madrid are very strong.

"Real Madrid come into the season as a winning team and they have momentum. The feeling is that Real Madrid have a more ready-made team and Barcelona are starting a new era. But that doesn't mean they cannot win La Liga. The year we won the treble, everybody wanted to fire Luis Enrique in January."

Xavi's criticism of the Barcelona set-up came only hours before former presidential candidate Agusti Benedito launched a vote of no confidence against the current board headed by Bartomeu.

Paulinho joined Barcelona in a deal worth £36.6m Getty