Barcelona have been looking out aggressively for a successor to the legendary Sergio Busquets, with some prominent names linked as well
Barca’s technical secretary Eric Abidal has had a busy last few months, as he has been on the lookout for defensive midfielders who can potentially replace the indispensable Busquets when the La Masia graduate eventually calls it quits. His search has linked the club to names to Ajax’s Frenkie de Jong and Paris Saint-Germain’s Adrien Rabiot.
Both players are seeking moves away from their respective sides, but have not been given the green light to do so. While there understandably fierce competition for future free agent Rabiot, Ajax sporting director Marc Overmars is demanding more than of €50 million for De Jong.
Abidal may have to look at alternatives as neither of above two options look viable. And while there are a plethora of options available, Barça require a player with a certain profile, similar to that of club legend and vice-captain Busquets. This is where 20-year old Norwegian defensive midfielder Sander Berge emerges as one of the better options in the market. Ever since joining Genk from Valerenga in 2016, Berge has developed at a quick pace and has already earned 11 caps for his national team.
The youngster has appeared 18 times in all competitions this season and has had solid outings in the Europa League. He has a goal and an assist to his name, apart from also appearing in the UEFA Nations League. Berge is a brilliant dribbler, and also a very good passer of the ball. He interception of through balls and passes from opposition players is also adept, and this makes his playing style similar to that of De Jong, who is also a good dribbler.
He has attracted interest from Serie A club Fiorentina as well, but Barca can surely beat them off if they decide to so. And while Berge will need time to adapt to surroundings at the Camp Nou, he could learn under the tutelage of Busquets.
While there are other cheaper options like Hertha’s Arne Maier, Barcelona sporting director Eric Abidal is sure Berge as the best choice if moves for Rabiot and De Jong fall through. Especially since the Norwegian fits the mould and has traits that are very similar to his predecessor Busquets.