Scouting Busquets Successor: Neves, Amrabat, Zubimendi…

Since 2008 Barcelona has had one of the best midfielders in history, Sergio Busquets. Now, it’s time to look for his successor. To do so, we will compare 3 players:

  • Rúben Neves good free kick taker and top long range shots.
  • Sofyan Amrabat great presser and nice progressive passing.
  • Martín Zubimendi excellent playing under pressure with perfect positioning.

But first we have to analyze Busquets’ role this past season.

Busquets has been playing with De Jong, who is really good carrying the ball but taking risks, so the new midfielder requires anticipation, reading the game and superb positioning.

That’s why players like N’Golo Kanté who are more disorganised, as they are used to playing advanced, not fulfilling the role of a defensive midfielder, are ruled out. Neither all the youngsters, such as Federico Redondo, as Barcelona need a player who can perform at elite level immediately.

We begin the comparison with short passes, an aspect in which Amrabat is the best player with a 93% success rate.

In long passes, Amrabat is also the first with even more dominance, having an excellent 84%, being one of the best players in the world.

In goals and assists Rúben Neves excels during his career and also this season. In this aspect it should be noted that he is a good penalty taker.

If we look at the success in take-onss we can see one of Amrabat’s main characteristics, which could allow Barcelona to threaten with carries and progressive passes with both De Jong and Amrabat.

The same happens in the number of crosses this season, which makes it clear that Zubimendi is a player who has little involvement in the final third, being key in the build-up.

Defensively, if we look at tackles and interceptions, Rúben Neves is the best, being a player with outstanding positioning.

And as in this one, Amrabat also suffers in aerial duels, with Zubimendi being the best by far.

With all this data it’s clear that the key lies in the type of midfielder Xavi wants for his team, as they are 3 very different midfielders. If I had to make a decision I would discard Neves because we don’t see his best version in teams with high percentages of possession, dropping down to receive too often between center backs and throwing too many long passes. Zubimendi I think fits Xavi’s style of play better, but with the transfer fee over 50 million and Amrabat at around 35 million, I think the Fiorentina player would be the best option for Barcelona.

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