With Barcelona looking for a pivot midfielder to occupy the spot left vacant by Sergio Busquets’ departure, the name of academy graduate Nico Gonzalez has been suggested as an in-house solution.
The 21-year-old midfielder is a product of the La Masia youth setup and enjoyed a breakthrough campaign in 2021/22. But a lack of minutes towards the end of the season under Xavi saw him opt to leave on loan to Valencia last summer.
The move to Mestalla did not work out as expected as Nico was hampered by injuries. Now as he closes in on returning to Barcelona, the Spaniard’s future is once again mired in uncertainty.
While Nico’s name has been talked about as a possible option for the pivot position, manager Xavi Hernandez does not see him fit into that role. And with Ilkay Gundogan arriving, there is increased competition for the interior midfield positions as well.
As such, AS is reporting that Nico is open to leaving Barcelona on yet another loan spell this season, especially with some interest coming from La Liga clubs in signing him temporarily.
The 21-year-old wishes to earn a place in the Barça first-team setup in the short to medium term, but as things stand, there is not much space on the roster.
So, a loan exit would be okay with the young midfielder, whose market value stands at €10 million. La Liga duo Real Betis and Valencia are both keen on signing him on loan.
Valencia is a place that Nico is already familiar with and went through a decent run under Ruben Baraja after recovering from his injury. Los Che themselves were happy with the midfielder’s performances and attitude, and would take him back.
As for Real Betis, what works in their favour is that they offer European football for Nico. Beyond that, the presence of former Barça technical secretary Ramon Planes as the sporting director could also appeal to the youngster given that he knows the midfielder well.
Any move will depend on what Xavi decides to do with the 21-year-old Nico.