Xavi is making a new contract for Ousmane Dembele one of his top priorities after taking the managerial reins at Barcelona, with the Camp Nou legend of the opinion that the World Cup-winning forward can be “the best player in the world in his position”.
That potential has been talked up for some time, with a considerable show of faith from Barca in the summer of 2017 seeing them invest a sizable chunk of the record-breaking €222 million (£200m/$262m) they received for Neymar on the talented French winger.
Dembele has struggled to live up to his billing in Catalunya, with injuries proving to be particularly problematic, but he is still just 24 years of age and now has a coach on board that has full faith in his ability.
What has been said?
Xavi told reporters of a player who is set to hit free agency in the summer of 2022: “For me, Dembele, he can be the best player in the world in his position.
“But you have to work with him and demand it. It depends on him, on his mentality, that he is free from injury, that he has high performance levels.
“His renewal is a priority for me.”
Any other business?
While Dembele is set to be a key part of Xavi’s plans, it remains to be seen whether the likes of Samuel Umtiti and Clement Lenglet will see a slate wiped clean after losing favour with previous boss Ronald Koeman.
A fresh start is being promised, with Xavi telling those on the fringes of the fold: “I don't know yet because I haven't seen them.
“But this is our job, they all start from scratch, I count on everyone and then we will see, it is about training and demand. They all start from zero.”
Will there be new arrivals?
Xavi will be given time to get his feet under the table back at Barcelona before another transfer window swings open in January.
The Blaugrana legend is expected to bolster his ranks in the new year, but he insists that no recruitment plans have been drawn up as yet.
Xavi said: “We are going to assess it with the club and we are going to decide. It is too soon to say, but we are going to work to strengthen the team, it is always an opportunity.
“For me, it is clear, we must recover the demand for success and that the players are clear about what they have to do in each moment of the game.”
Barca are currently sat ninth in the Liga table, 11 points adrift of leaders Real Sociedad and with an SOS call sounded to Xavi as he prepares to fill a first coaching role in Europe after previously impressing in Qatar with Al Sadd.